Big data is a hot topic these days. Synonymous with technological advancement and sophisticated data collection, it allows businesses to use information to improve sales, understand challenges and determine future success. But the concept can seem daunting for smaller operators that may not think they have the time, money or capabilities to incorporate a big data strategy.
To all those retailers that are not sure if big data is for them: Incorporating big data is a no-brainer. To explain why, here’s a look at the first three myths about big data that need to be debunked.
Myth No. 1: I’m too small (or big) to benefit from big data.
Truth: Big data is valuable for major players, as well as smaller local retailers. Who wouldn’t want to be able to look at inventory data and match it with sales or loss prevention trends? Who couldn’t benefit from a system that provides notification that the amount of cash on hand is too high?
As retailers are likely already taking stock of this information to some extent, they already have a big-data approach to business. Incorporating technology that uses data to improve all aspects of the business is the logical next step.
To sum up the goals of big data, here are the benefits of a strong business intelligence strategy, according to hardware giant CDW:
- Providing strategic insights
- Predicting outcomes
- Reducing risk and identifying fraud
- Improving compliance
- Boosting profits
Myth No. 2: I’d have to change everything about the way I do things now.
Truth: Many retailers already incorporate many big-data functions. What a big-data system allows retailers to do is aggregate all the information about what’s going on and provide insight into how often it’s done and what the success rate is. It also “minds” the store for retailers, so they can address core business functions.
As an example, you already prepare cash deposits and have them taken to the bank. A big-data system can tell you about the deposit patterns in your store, how they match to revenue patterns, when they are collected and what amount has been credited by your bank. Moreover, some systems constantly monitor the uptime of your loss prevention devices, lowering your risk. And many of these systems are remotely accessible.
Aggregating data across your operations makes strong business sense for three reasons:
- Data is portable. It is available in multiple environments and transportable.
- Data is flexible. It can be provided in multiple ways to meet diverse needs.
- Data is actionable. It leads to more efficient operations or procedures.
Myth No. 3: I wouldn’t have to change anything about what I do now.
Truth: Like any project, you’ll have to change some things. The main work is to ensure operational devices “talk” to each other, similar to the way personal devices interact with each other in your own life. Consider how applications on your phone control the temperature of your home and help you bank online. In the business world, this may equate to knowing about a missed deposit pickup or being aware that a store has run out of till cash to run operations. When devices and practices share information securely, they allow retailers to be proactive.
And while there is some legwork, the benefits are many. Retailers won’t need to rely on information from hardcopy or spreadsheets, which quickly become outdated, and instead will have the tools at their fingertips to conduct timely analysis.
Keep an eye out for part two of this series debunking the next two big data myths, “I won’t really save much and it’ll be too tough to get” and “this can be successful without commitment from everyone.”
This post is sponsored by FireKing Security Group