Data is a powerful engine in today’s economy giving rise to a bright future. So, how can companies maximize their data for optimal results?

Hugh Simpson, Global Lead – Data & Analytics, A.I.& Industry 4.0 at Ciklum

Data is the engine that powers today’s economy. With vast amounts of information accessible at a single click, organizations can draw powerful insights and create transformative experiences for individuals, customers, and businesses.

Making the most out of data requires resources to refine and process large amounts of information to understand the actual value contained within. Just as oil sitting in the ground can’t be fully utilized until it’s extracted from the earth and turned into another form such as gas or plastic, data that remains idle becomes an underutilized asset that could otherwise be used for significant business purposes.

Many retail and supply chain companies that aren’t maximizing the value from enriching data and missing out on opportunities to grow, optimize or manage risk. From geographic information to purchasing history, data presents retailers and supply chain providers with a powerful opportunity to extract insights about business activity, customer behavior, and other trends. And because different kinds of data can be valuable in a wide variety of applications, even information that seems to have no immediate use to a company can generate benefits for other organizations that need it.

Using data to assess current business practices, identify new opportunities, and maximize efficiency can put serious money back in the pocket of any retailer or supply chain provider.

Here are ten ways to monetize data generated throughout the retail industry and supply chain:

1. Incorporating Predictive Analytics

One of the most useful applications of data for retailers and supply chain providers is predictive analytics. Combining and enriching data about pricing, inventory and customer behavior allows retail and supply chain companies to make intelligent forecasts through predictive analytics, follow market trends, and develop recommendation engines for future customer purchases. By utilizing information that’s already at the fingertips of any store, fulfillment center, or manufacturer, companies can run leaner operations, offer better product selections, and anticipate demand throughout the year.

2. New Revenue Models

Keeping customers coming back for more is the dream of any retailer. Analyzing customer and supply chain data makes it possible to discover new revenue models that satisfy customers in new and innovative ways. With the rise of e-commerce subscriptions and recurring revenue programs, data can convert one-time buyers into loyal customers dedicated to brands and products.

3. Strategic Marketing

Advertising is no longer a game controlled by dominant Madison Avenue types. Digital marketing tools have empowered brands and organizations of any size to reach customers across a wide variety of platforms, eliminating expensive intermediaries to speak directly to an intended audience. Retailers have been investing in data-driven ad tech to take advantage of commerce advertising, which responsibly uses first-party shopping data to target customers. Marketing with retail and supply chain data makes it possible to save money on ineffective advertising and reach customers directly.

4. Decrease Shrink and Fraud

Shrink has long been one of the most frustrating and expensive costs of retail business. Retail data analytics capabilities can monetize existing data by assessing patterns, trends, and anomalies to uncover potential fraud and theft.

5. Geotargeting

Reaching a customer when they’re ready to make a purchase can help close the sale. Geolocation data enables retailers to add moments of connection to in-store shopping experiences, sending product information directly to a customer’s mobile device. By implementing capabilities that can send personalized discounts or point to the right location of an item in a store, location data can bring forth new opportunities to sell products and create better retail experiences.

6. Improved Business Cooperation

Because retail companies and supply chain providers work in concert with each other to fulfill customer needs, it’s essential for partner companies to speak a shared language. Boosting the level of cooperation between manufacturers, stores, and vendors can turn data into cost savings throughout the entire supply chain.

7. Increased Customer Satisfaction

Keeping customers happy keeps them coming back. Identifying new ways of boosting customer satisfaction is a smart long-term strategy to ensure that customers can find, purchase, and receive products without pain or friction. Because data makes it possible to understand customer needs better, retail and supply chain companies can significantly improve the customer journey by extracting valuable insights from how customers interact with a company. Data can also be taken advantage of by a comprehensive CRM system, which allows brands to build long-term relationships with new and existing customers.

8. Traffic and Density Planning

For brands with a physical retail presence, location and layout can help define a store’s success. Shopping and vendor data can be used for traffic, density, and location planning, ensuring companies build ideal locations well-situated to customer needs. Every additional data point that helps suggest a better retail experience can help create a positive retail experience and smooth logistics operation.

9. IoT Devices

From the store to the warehouse floor, improved visibility into the flow and storage of goods allows retail and supply chain companies to better track and analyze inventory. Sensors, trackers and other connected Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices can produce real-time data about an item’s location, shipment status, and availability. Optimizing retail operations using IoT devices makes it possible for retailers and supply chain companies to cut costs and boost customer satisfaction.

10. Sell Data to Companies in Other Industries

Data generated by retailers and supply chain providers can provide a wide range of insights into consumer behavior and logistics. This information isn’t just valuable to the companies that produce it: new industries looking to bolster their analytic capabilities may have a use for existing data sets or information that otherwise doesn’t appear to be of immediate use. Selling relevant information — with a keen eye towards data security and privacy rights — can generate additional revenue from work already being carried out.

The possibilities to connect with your clients and customers become endless when detailed data is available in real-time. During this time, companies must create a foundation for optimal success that will allow them to remain competitive while improving their ROI and increasing customer loyalty and retention.