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Retailers using big data to understand customer behavior and make sales

Rachel Wheeler Archive
Big data is promising to revolutionize the way companies do business. With the ability to harness customer data, organize it, verify the data quality and extract valuable correlations, they can generate more holistic pictures of consumers' buying habits and learn what drives them.

This is why companies such as Wal-Mart have invested in analytics programs, according to Data Center Knowledge. In an effort to gain an edge on its online competition - namely, Amazon - the discount retail giant plans to consolidate the data systems it uses for brick-and-mortar stores and ecommerce sites into one global platform. This move is expected to help the company grow its online division.

"The new central global platform will allow data scientists from its various web properties to analyze petabytes of real-time customer data and generate insights," said William Blair analyst Jim Breen. "We believe that the opportunity with Wal-Mart has the potential to scale over time, and could lead to big data projects with other large retailers."

Other brands might soon be seeing the value of big data strategies, as startups such as Buystand collect vast amounts of consumer information, including the prices they are willing to pay and when, according to Fast Company. Ultimately, this can be used to sell products and clear inventory more efficiently.