Online retailors are finding big data to be beneficially in more ways than one. When consumers get online and place items into their cart or purchase certain items under their store identification/ rewards card, the store saves this history and collects it in a database. After several purchases, the store is able to detect certain trends that reveal personal shopping habits and characteristics about the customers. A Target store was once able to detect the certain customer was pregnant based on data analytics. The database started to see a trend in items this consumer was purchasing and analyzed the data trend to hypothesize that these items are commonly purchased together during the beginning of a women’s pregnancy.
Other online retailers store and analyze data such as what items a consumer clicked on, how long they were on them, whether an item was placed in their cart and even related items. Companies like Amazon have used big data to detect trends in relative items. If a certain number of consumers pair item A and item B (and C, and D) together during a single transaction or view Item A and Item B (and C, and D) during a visit, they are able to detect a ‘trend’, suggesting that these items much be related if they are often purchased together. They can then influence the items the next consumer will view/buy. If you purchased a body wash that most people bought paired with a lotion, after you add that body wash to your cart, Amazon will continue to remind you that most people also buy the lotion under a section called, ‘Suggestions.’ A significant amount of times this suggestion window will convince the average consumer they need item B in order to get the most out of item A.
The ability for online retailers to store and analyze cookies, data based on a consumers moments, does personalize the online retailers to the consumer. It is as if before you walk into a store, the employees gathered all the relative shoes, shirts and jewelry into a corner just for you. It makes consumers feel understood and especially considered by the company. This personalization factor can also translate into a feeling of belongingness in a particular store vs. their competitors. Big data allows the vase pool of online retailers the chance to tailor the experience for a larger number of customers by storing and detecting data patterns. In addition, market research is probably one of the most accurate ways to study consumer behavior. Even when asking consumers about their choices, they may lie or just agree with everyone else. Their behavior is what reveals their actual thought process. Through data analytics, companies can then determine a target market/segment and tailor their advertisements to them. As our dependency on technology continues to increase, so will the amount of information/data we give to companies. I believe that having the ability to discretely study consumer behavior using big data will power better marketing research, strategies and advertisements.