Many smart business owners believe that “the customer is always right”, and that without customers, a business quickly withers and dies. A business that changes itself in order to better serve its customers is a business that changes for the better overall. Customers experience increased satisfaction in the company’s goods and services, and the business increases profits. Everyone wins.
In order to make these changes, a smart business will avail itself of the latest and greatest tools out there, and these days, those tools don’t get any greater, at least in terms of size and scope, as Big Data. Big Data is data of such quantity and complexity that it overwhelms the traditional methods of processing. And make no mistake: in this context, the word “big” describes the speed, variety, and quantity of data.
How Is It Processed?
The problem with Big Data is that it presents a big problem in terms of processing and integration. The phrase “drinking from the fire hose” aptly describes the challenge. Businesses can attempt to process this data in-house by means of collection and analysis platforms, or they can turn to companies whose area of expertise is taking Big Data and turning it into a form that a company can use. As a for instance:
“There is no greater disruptive force in the industry today than Big Data, and with its powerful technology, exceptional talent, and large existing customer base, Syncsort is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the incredible opportunity that Big Data represents, across both mainframe and open systems such as Hadoop.” – Lonne Jaffe, Syncsort CEO
Using Big Data To Be A Better Business
A business can use information gleaned from Big Data in order to initiate positive changes based on customer habits, user profiles, and other trends. For instance, a business could change its hours or adjust staff to better accommodate times of heavy customer traffic. Conversely, by reducing staff during slower times, a statistic brought to light by patterns taken from Big Data, a company can cut costs without depriving customers of any convenience. Resources go where they’re needed.
Or maybe customer feedback, gathered from diverse sources such as emails, reviews on pages like Yelp, or Tweets, shows that people are frustrated with a store’s floor plan, specifically pointing out that no one can find anything they’re looking for. This information could result in a change in a physical store’s layout in order to make it more user-friendly.
Come to think of it, that sort of feedback would also work with a virtual store’s layout. After all, how many websites have people frequented where they spent far too much time trying to find the right page? The last thing an e-commerce business wants is to have people give up out of frustration, thereby losing a sale (or a return visit!).
In the area of inventory, if Big Data information shows a business who is buying what, that business can make adjustments in inventory so as to cut waste. The spending habits of these customers, gleaned through Big Data, helps make a business more efficient as well as responsive to their customers’ needs and wants.
Businesses can tailor e-mail campaigns to come across as more personalized, targeting the intended audience and but avoiding those users who would only be annoyed at receiving e-mails touting things they are not interested in. Big Data helps in targeting advertisements, helping businesses stretch those ad budgets a little further by eliminating wasteful spending.
Even geographical data gleaned by social media sites like FourSquare or by means of GPS technology can help a business that has multiple locations to create specials and promotions for particular stores. A pub that has a very strong sports fanatic demographic at one of its four locations, for instance, could have a special happy hour during events such as a playoff series or the World Cup, while the other pub locations focus on something else instead, thereby not having to waste time, energy, and resources on a promotion that the customers who frequent those other branches don’t appreciate as much.
Big Data, Big Results
Consider Big Data to be the telescopic sight that enables your business to take better aim at the target. Using Big Data, a business becomes better connected to their customers, more aware of their needs, and better able to provide them with what they want. And satisfied customers are the best form of advertising out there.