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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