Four Shifts Shaping Retail Data

From "industry-itis" to data fire hoses, in my podcast interview at the IBM Insight conference, I shared contrarian insights into the future of retail data.

From the discussion, the following are four shifts that will shape retail and data analytics in 2016 and beyond.

  1. From “less is more” to “bring it on.” Armed with a treasure trove of advanced analytical tools and user-friendly dashboards, retailers are finally gaining the confidence to open up the data fire hose. Moving forward, this will include integrating weather and social data into traditional retail data sets and harnessing IoT insights gathered from innumerable consumer devices and products. The implementation of these innovations won’t be without controversy, but the train has left the station when it comes to data diversity.
  2. From data mandate to data inform. As retailers’ data confidence increases, a surprising shift is underway: gut instinct and creativity are back. Not that long ago, it was assumed that data would drive every important retail decision; today, retailers are taking a more balanced approach that includes the human touch. As one retail executive shared with me recently, “Retail is science and art, and the art comes from people.”
  3. From data reporting to data story-telling. As data collection becomes commoditized, data storytelling will emerge as a major differentiator for retailers and for any company competing in the technology space. In aprevious article I wrote more extensively about the opportunities for consumer marketers, suppliers and hiring managers to put storytelling at the forefront of strategy.
  4. From “industry-itis” to embracing the blur. Solution providers tend to segment opportunities by industry, and many technology trade show floors are divided into industry-defined sections such as telcom, healthcare and retail. While taking this approach may seem to highlight the diversity of applications for particular technologies, it actually ultimately limits possibilities. This is particularly true in retail, as more retailers become healthcare providers and as telecoms open retail locations (and in some showy locations). Now it’s time for technology companies to break out of the old silos and showcase how solutions address retail’s many new models, and retailers’ new identities.

What are your thoughts on retail data shifts, and what needs to happen next?

Listen to the full interview

Retail Wire picked up this article. Check out the discussion.

Two more articles from IBM Insight that you might like...

Retail Data’s Right Brain: Calling all Storytellers

Power to the People: A Surprising Retail Shift in the Data-Driven Era