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Data scientists can be a driving force in the retail sector

Richard Jones Archive

It's well understood in 2014 that if retail organizations want to get ahead of their competition, they can make a lot of progress simply by leaning more on data across the board. Analyzing facts and figures can help companies get more productivity from the workforce, maximize revenue with their pricing strategies and serve consumers better through strong marketing and customer service.

All of this might be easier said than done, though. After all, data isn't going to extract value from itself. If companies really want to beat out their rivals with superior work through analytics, it's not just a matter of collecting the most information. Data quality and critical thinking are also important. That's where data scientists come in.

According to Retail Wire, merchants need to step up their efforts where data analysis is involved. These companies are putting a great deal of money into analytics, but they don't always have the talent to back up their funding. Nikki Baird, managing partner at RSR Research, explains.

"I can honestly say that I have never met a data scientist in retail," Baird stated. "They are a class of user that appears to have all the frequency of unicorns and dragons in the retail enterprise. When data scientists exist, data can actually be democratized, because it is the data scientists that ensure that the data is described, staged, and modeled in a way that makes it more accessible to casual users."

Data is valuable to retail organizations at a variety of points in the sales cycle. It can be put to good use by managers, business analysts, IT staff members and ultimately the data scientists who drive innovation. The first three groups of employees are omnipresent and have always played a major role - in the fourth, there's still definite room for improvement.