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Mobile data is changing the way retail operates

Paul Newman Archive

Companies today face a very important challenge - they're working to balance their thirst for more diverse sources of customer information with their pressing need for data quality. Put another way: Modern technology has made data available to marketers through countless channels, but they need some kind of assurance that the information out there is accurate.

Consider, for example, the rise of mobile solutions. People today are using their tablets and smartphones for just about everything. Frequently, these devices change the way they go shopping - rather than going to a store and simply buying a product, they're using their gadgets to compare prices, consult with friends about decisions, maybe even buy the same product elsewhere.

In so doing, they're no doubt providing plenty of information about themselves. Every time a consumer downloads an app or signs up for an online service, they're volunteering free data. According to FirstBiz, marketers everywhere should look to capitalize on this, looking for high-quality data that can transform the way they do business.

"Use of technology in-store and customers' own smartphones is one of the latest trends," explained Gautam Kulkarni, retail practice lead at Nihilent. "Retailers are using store Wi-Fi, mobile apps, and beacons technology. Also, social media is used to target customers with personalized offers, which can be done using next generation customer analytics."

These are all exciting changes. With more data comes more opportunity for companies to deliver stronger marketing content, make more effective sales pitches and, in the long run, ensure people's loyalty as returning paying customers.

The only thing potentially holding them back is data quality. With all the information people send to their favorite brands via mobile platforms, it's important to make sure it's all in the correct format, not misspelled or outdated or duplicating existing data. If businesses can do that, they'll be on the right track.