Is Your Big Data Driving Dollars…Or Distraction?

Written by Ed Higdon on . Posted in Insight

Businesspeople at a meeting

Here’s a pop quiz for you: By how much has your big data initiative raised retail sales in the last year? If you don’t know, you’re not alone. Retailers of all sizes struggle to realize ROI from their data. While the reasons why can and do vary, one of the biggest issues when it comes to analytics is this: retailers get so sidetracked by the possibilities of big data that they forget to stay focused on turning that data into dollars.

Falling Victim To The Data Distraction Trap

Did you know that some marketers use big data to make customer-focused decisions only 11 percent of the time? And a whopping 60 percent of CMOs admit to neglecting customer insights they could derive from big data. Which begs the question: Just what are marketers doing with analytics?

Frankly, modern big data dashboards are interesting and fun to play with. Users can ask virtually any question about their customers and quickly receive gorgeous charts and graphs that present related data. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

Therein lies the distraction.

It’s possible, and sometimes really exciting, to explore big data at a granular level, but does knowing the, let’s say, sock color preference of one specific customer really impact your bottom line? When everyone is hung up on marginal data points they forget to focus on metrics that have impact on dollars.

Shutting Out The Distraction And Focusing on Dollars

In order to keep focused on data that drives dollars, leaders must adjust their approach. The key is to keep data at the center of all decision making. Big data is not a toy—it’s a tool. Instead of playing with numbers, teams should be using those numbers to develop real strategies. Click-through rates are great to know, but instead of focusing on increasing all email clicks, look for insights into what drove customers to click, what those customers are doing once they get to your online store, and what drives them to spend. Use the data not to drive a single click, but multiple conversions.

As big data and analytics become increasingly integrated into retail strategy, it is imperative to keep in mind the end goal of data collection: turning data into dollars. When everyone is focused on that goal, from executive leadership all the way through entry-level associates, you’ll know the exact answer the next time someone asks how big data has impacted your bottom line.