In the era of big data, the digital universe is doubling every other year, and research indicates there will be 40 trillion gigabytes of data by 2020. Technology has evolved to the point where businesses are not only able to collect a wealth of customer-specific information—from preferences, to demographics to location-specific behaviors and everything in between—they are also able to analyze that data in such a way as to make thoroughly informed changes that help grow their brands.
Think about it: Imagine you’re a business owner who’s just launched an ecommerce platform. Obviously, you want to sell as much to your customers as possible. After they’ve set up profiles and made a few purchases, you’re able to collect a lot of specific information relating to that person’s buying behavior. Now multiply that across all of your customers.
Leveraging big data, you might find that customers who buy a particular scented candle, for example, are likely to also be interested in a certain kind of curtain. When a new customer buys that same scented candle, you can then target them specifically with the curtain, as you’ve seen that customers are likely to buy both.
“Big data is the new oil,” writes Bryan Trogdon, an entrepreneur. “The companies, governments, and organizations that are able to mine this resource will have an enormous advantage over those that don’t.”
5 Big Data Trends to Watch
It’s no longer accurate to say big data is coming—it’s already here. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five big data trends and how we can expect them to change business over the next six years.
1. Do-it-yourself analytics
As technology evolves and employees become even more familiar with how to analyze big data, more adjustments can be made in real time to bolster efficiency and grow your bottom line as you figure out more creative ways to target your customers. With more data at your fingertips, you’re able to make better-informed decisions as to how to serve your customers.
2. Improved customer service
Armed with copious amounts of customer-specific data, businesses will be able to more effectively target their customers, enhancing the customer experience along the way. And that’s important, because as the Internet makes the world a smaller place, customers have more options than ever before. Because of that, the customer experience becomes a key differentiating factor when consumers decide which brands to support.
3. Forecast demand
Being able to access a wide variety of customer-specific data enables businesses to analyze trends and predict what future demands will be. This allows them to be prepared for influxes of traffic on their ecommerce platforms, for example. Forecasting will never be something that is perfectly flawless at all times, but the more information that is leveraged prior to forecasting, the more accurate it will be.
4. Content becomes more important
Thanks to big data, you’re able to see exactly which kinds of content are resonating with which customers. In this light, you can then analyze the data you’ve gleaned and craft content that’s specifically targeted to certain individuals. Content will become more important than ever, as marketers can use it as a kind of fishing pole with which to catch specific kinds of customers.
5. A customized shopping experience
As technology evolves and businesses begin to collect even more data, it will be interesting to see just how customized the individual shopping experience becomes. After all, if marketers are able to determine what you don’t like, why should you ever expect to see advertisements relating to such things? In other words, why would marketers target a die-hard New York Yankees fan with Red Sox gear? (Other than to play a trick, of course.)
The above five trends are by no means the only ways we expect big data to transform business. What other ways do you see?
About the Author: Kayla Matthews is a business solutions blogger with a passion for online technologies and productivity. Follow her on Google+ and Twitter to get updates on her latest TMC articles.
Edited by Maurice Nagle