Most big retailers are already familiar with the revenue opportunities as well as the challenges connected with Big Data, and are exploiting technologies to deal with them. But, they have been slower to prepare for the explosive growth in Big Data that is being brought about by the prevalence of smartphones and tablets.
The impact is stunning. Based on a forecast by Cisco, there will be 19 billion network connections in operation by 2016, which is equivalent to 2.5 connections per each person on the planet. This represents an increase of over 45% in just 5 years.
These billions of mobile devices are already generating colossal amounts of new data. The Cisco report expects that worldwide IP traffic will amount to 1.3 zettabytes by 2016. (One zettabyte is approximately 1.1 trillion gigabytes.) So, even if a firm thinks that they can handle Big Data now, that doesn’t assure their success in the future. Many retailers are simply not prepared to manage this exponential expansion of information generated by all of these smartphones, tablets, and perhaps other mobile devices yet to be invented.
Even once an organization has mastered the efficient collection and storage of the data, they still need the data scientists who can do real-time analytics and are able effectively team up with a marketing operation that has the expertise to translate that analysis into revenue.
In order to convert mobile users into customers, as well as to retain them, retailers will need to develop predictive models, promotions, offers and incentives to attract these consumers. Mobile shopping will be a larger share of their business, and with it comes a whole new set of customer information that needs to be collected and processed in its own unique way.
Whether in the form of iOS, HTML, Android data or something else, mobile inputs must be collected and saved in a database or warehouse that will allow for their organization, categorization and analysis. Furthermore, real-time responses to all of those customer inquiries and orders will need to be generated. That is where the skills of data and predictive analytic scientists prove their worth. Ideally, they will have the background and experience in retail systems to adapt the technologies accordingly.
The technicians will need to work more closely with marketing than ever before. It will be the firm’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) more so than the Chief Information Officer (CIO) who will be controlling the Big Data budget and demanding the services needed to keep up with the incredible demands of this new era of mobile-based data.