NYTimes: A Data Explosion Remakes Retailing

by Deepak Sharma on Saturday, January 02, 2010

NYTimes writes on growing use of surge in the amount and type of digital data that retailers are tapping to make sense and identify patterns in the data.

"...rapid surge in the amount and types of digital data that retailers can now tap, and the improved computing tools to try to make sense of it. The data explosion spans internal sources including point-of-sale and shipment-tracking information, as well as census data and syndicated services. Companies also track online visitors to Web commerce sites, members of social networks like Facebook and browsers using smartphones.

The better tools, they say, are ever cheaper and faster computers and so-called business intelligence or analytic software for finding useful information and patterns in that data.

Retailers are increasingly mining vast troves of digital information to improve the decisions they make about pricing, shelf-stocking and product offerings. “This huge and growing ecosystem of data is an asset that some retailers are really beginning to exploit for competitive advantage,” said Thomas H. Davenport, a professor of information technology and management at Babson College. “It brings more science into the business. Relying on gut feel is yesterday’s strategy in retailing.”

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Data is extremely important. But in the case of retail, a good form of market research is virtual shopping environments. What is the sentiment for a product before it hits the shelves. Here's a few articles I've found on virtual shopping.


by Christopher Trottier on 3:10 PM. #

Data is important, but I also worry about the affect this will have on human psychology. Research into the affects that media and advertising have on the way people shop and live their lives points to the fact that the mass majority of people are easily affected by advertising. So, using all of this data efficiently could potentially lead to advertising that is, in fact, too controlling. There needs to be some one to mediate this vast flow of information and to step in and say when people are being abused by advertising that is far too manipulative. People want the choice to purchase something, they don't want to be tricked into it.

by Andrew on 2:40 AM. #