Below are some of the ways organizations are using your data. In some cases, the data is publicly available and in other cases, this data is collected when you walk in a store or a hotel. While the intentions may be good to provide you good services, the fact is no one is watching them. Who will ensure that these organizations are not overreaching? Most importantly, what can you do about it? This article provides some of the examples below on how your data is being used. Follow this blog to get more thought provoking articles and blogs on your data when we publish it.
1. Kohl’s is testing real-time, personalized offers in five of its stores. Shoppers who walk into one of those stores can opt in for offers via their smartphones. So if a shopper lingers in the shoe department, for example, they’ll receive a coupon based on the shoes they looked at online but never bought.
2. Big data has given Vera Bradley insight into what shoppers want while delivering a return on investment for the retailer/supplier of colorful quilted handbags. The company switched from sending shoppers blanket email promotions to sending targeted offers based on individual shopper purchases.
3. Target for one, uses “social sentiment data” – insight gleaned from social networks — to monitor how shoppers respond to its designer collaborations, said Melissa Flicek, director of project delivery for Target.com.
4. Hotel Chain Uses Big Data to Increase Bookings: Bad weather reduces travel, which then reduces overnight lodging. That’s not good news if you’re in the hotel business. However, Red Roof Inn turned this trend on its head. The hotel chain recognized that cancelled flights leave travelers in a bind and in need of a place to sleep overnight. The company sourced freely available weather and flight cancellation information, organized by combinations of hotel and airport locations, and built an algorithm which factored weather severity, travel conditions, time of the day and cancellation rates by airport and airline among other variables. With its big data insights, and recognition that travelers will be using mobile devices for this use case, the company used Search, PPC and SoLoMo mobile campaigns to deliver targeted mobile ads to stranded travelers and make it easy for them to book a nearby hotel. This big data payback is compelling. Flight cancellations average 1-3% daily, which translates into 150 to 500 cancelled flights or around 25,000 to 90,000 stranded passengers each day. With its big data and geo-based mobile marketing campaigns Red Roof Inn achieved a 10% business increase from 2013 to 2014.
5. Pizza Chain Earns More Dough in Bad Weather: A pizza chain uses a mobile app and mobile marketing techniques to deliver coupons based on bad weather or where power outages leave consumers unable to cook. This mobile and location-based marketing campaign achieves a 20% response rate.
6. Music distributor Applies Big Data for Demand Planning: Record label EMI uses big data to measure and forecast product demand. After distributing or leaking music, the company measures consumption on its own social networks and additionally acquires third party listening pattern data from popular music streaming services, song identification apps or ‘second screen’ social media collators. The data is aggregated by demographics, locations and subcultures and helps the music distributor deliver pinpoint advertising and forecast product demand with a high confidence level. This concept is applicable to other retailers who can also aggregate feeds from social networks to build an understanding of how new products will be received by new or existing markets, or even how their products and company reputation are perceived among the public.
7. Financial Services Company Scores New Clients: After incurring low win rates for new client acquisitions, a financial services firm turned to big data in order to better identify which new client opportunities warrant the most investment. The company supplemented its customer demographic data with third party data purchased from eBureau. The data service provider appended sales lead opportunities with consumer occupations, incomes, ages, retail histories and related factors. The enhanced data set is then applied to an algorithm which identifies which new client leads should receive additional investment and which should not. The result has been an 11 percent increase in new client win rates while at the same time the firm has lowered sales related expenses by 14.5%.
8. Retailer Creates Pregnancy Detection Model: In a near infamous retail big data example, retailer Target correlated its baby-shower registry with its Guest ID program in order to determine when a shopper is likely pregnant. Target’s Guest ID is a unique consumer ID that tracks purchase history, credit card use, survey responses, customer support incidents, email click-throughs, web site visits and more. The company supplements the consumer activities it tracks by purchasing demographic data such as age, ethnicity, education, marital status, number of children, estimated income, job history and life events such as when you last moved or if you have been divorced or ever declared bankruptcy.
9. The Huffington Post recently touched on one of America’s most beloved retailers, Costco. Costco needs no introduction as the big-box retailer with free food samples, to-die-for food court and excessively large toilet paper packages. Most people know this. However, most people don’t realize just how active Costco is in the big data game. Every purchase by every customer is tracked and meticulously recorded by the giant retailer. Costco uses this information for a variety of purposes. One practical use is to contact customers in the event of product recalls or other safety concerns about purchased items. For Costco, it was a recent fruit recall by a California-based packaging company. Following the recall Costco immediately went to its records to determine which customers had purchased the tainted fruit. Within 24 hours Costco knew which customers were potentially affected by the recall. Phone calls and emails began to be issued to customers, and what normally is a retail nightmare turned into another opportunity to strengthen customer loyalty. Customers praised Costco’s response to the situation and expressed appreciation for the effort. Maybe big data is a miracle, turning a product recall into a point of praise. Whether or not this is considered creepy, you can sleep well at night knowing Costco has your back with the help of big data.
10. Target is known lovingly as the ‘upscale’ version of Walmart. Target is one of several companies to recently succumb to a massive data breach that left customers seething. Any data breach is a worst-case-scenario for retailers. For Target, the breach left millions of customers and their credit card information exposed. Perhaps it wasn’t just the data breach itself that ruffled customer feathers, but the slow and somewhat calloused response. Affected customers received what would later be referred to as “the letter”. Target belatedly sent a letter to inform potentially affected customers. Addressed from the CEO, it read “I am truly sorry this incident occurred and sincerely regret any inconvenience it may cause you.” Target misused big data in two ways. First, it failed to protect the massive stores of customer data in the company server. If a large retailer thinks it has the ability to utilize customer data to provide a better buying experience, great. But there needs to be an assurance that data breaches are avoided at all costs and minimized when they do eventually come. Second, Target used its customer information to send notification of the breach, but the notification was at best lacking sincerity.