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Data-driven technologies can improve the retail customer experience

Richard Jones Archive

In the retail sector, most of the hype surrounding the "big data" trend relates to improving e-commerce. By gathering more information about retail customers who shop online, merchants can use better practices for targeting consumers with specific marketing messages that will be effective. Emails, social media content and mobile ads can all be persuasive strategies for enticing customers online.

Retail executives have also come to realize recently that they can use data to improve the shopping experience for in-person customers. Brick-and-mortar store locations may not have the same technology infrastructures as their online counterparts, but they still have the potential to utilize data-driven strategies.

Harris Teeter is one such retailer that has made a concerted effort to cater to shoppers in its stores. The grocery store recently announced that it was using a new analytics platform to take information collected via online and mobile platforms and integrate it into the brick-and-mortar experience.

According to Retail Info Systems News, the effects of Harris Teeter's strategy could include a better understanding of shoppers' habits and a more proactive approach to customer service. Danna Jones, communication specialist for the retail chain, is optimistic that her stores can garner more business using these new strategies.

"As Harris Teeter was founded on excellent customer service, it is our top priority to continue to serve our customers at the highest level possible," Jones said. "Access to insights from this type of dynamic intelligence software will enable us to better understand our shoppers' buying habits as well as present us with the opportunity to improve our level of service by giving our customers exactly what they want when they want it."

Just as with any other data-driven initiative, using analytics with physical store locations requires a high level of data quality. Big data has big potential to improve people's shopping experiences, but if it's misused, shoppers can be led astray.