Retailers embracing big data to gauge consumer preferences

Fashion retailer Shoppers Stop also recently announced plans to go digital, changing its strategy for third time in five years.

Mumbai: With big data analytics emerging as a key tool to generate business intelligence, many retailers in the country are adopting the technology, albeit at a slow ace, to give customers a more customised shopping experience.

Leading the way are retailers, Shoppers Stop and the Tata Group's Trent, among others.

Fashion retailer Shoppers Stop also recently announced plans to go digital, changing its strategy for third time in five years.

The city-headquartered retail chain is targeting to net 15 per cent revenue through digital touch-points by 2020 and it plans to invest Rs 60 crore over the next three years.

"Next year, we plan to invest in warehouse management systems to strengthen our supply chain, and subsequently in master data management to strengthen our omni-channel operations," Shoppers Stop Managing Director Govind Shrikhande told PTI.

Similarly, Trent is also planning to tap the technology for better understating of customers. The retailer is also looking at in-house analytics in the near future to better serve its customers.

"At present we outsource analytics, but the company is thinking of building an in-house analytics team," IT head at Trent, Vikram Idnani said.

Consultancy firm PwC however, believes that while big data adoption is the way forward, the pace of adoption is slow among the retailers as of now.

"While the adoption of big data analytics in the retail sector is happening, the speed is still slow given the volume of data that is generated and can be leveraged," PwC India Partner and Technology Sector Leader Sandeep Ladda said.

But more than decoding the analytics a bigger step for both online and offline retail would be when the data can be used real-time to target shoppers during their shopping experience, he added.

According to technology industry estimates, globally over 95 per cent of the data being generated across sectors has been generated over the last two years, and less than 2 per cent of this is being analysed so far.
"Companies have to find ways and means to decipher the huge quantum of data," Ladda said.

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