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Retailers collecting data to learn about consumer patterns

Rachel Wheeler Archive
Consumers' increasing reliance on plastic payments instead of cash can be good news for retailers. Data is generated every time a card is swiped or loyalty information is entered at a point-of-sale terminal, and businesses are finding ways to mine this for greater insight.

Shopping malls have been tracking data about consumer foot traffic and harnessing it to learn about an array of patterns and consumer preferences, according to Retail-Digital. By tapping into this information, companies can learn about trends and consumers' preferences, which locations are drawing the biggest crowds and the times when traffic peaks. Retailers can use findings to make better scheduling decisions, evaluate the success of promotions and learn how to increase sales. Since malls have been able to quantify this information, they tend to fare better than Main Street shops, the source explains.

However, emerging retail technology could change that. PayPal and Discover recently partnered and proposed a way for retailers to share more data, according to Storefront Backtalk.

"When you combine [data sharing] with our online and mobile information, it becomes very powerful information that we can use - with the retailers," said Don Kingsborough, PayPal's vice president of retail and prepaid products, as quoted by Mobile Burn.

When sharing data, it's essential that retailers take an organized approach at the outset to ensure users receive good data quality at the back end.