Consumer markets and Retail

Industry perspectives: Consumer markets and retail 

Getting customer insights out of the data deluge

Consumer-markets companies, and retailers in particular, are only too aware of the growing data deluge. ERP systems opened up the possibility of disseminating business information across stores and even continents. The internet has led to an exponential increase in customer information and insight. And the unstructured nature of social media has added increased complexity to the masses of data that companies need to understand. 

The hardest part of the data puzzle for retailers and consumer-markets organizations can be aligning what they learn from their customers with what they already know. Traditional ERP systems just aren't designed to deal with today's volume of data or present it in meaningful ways for marketing or finance.

– Mark Larson
Global Chair, Retail

Further, traditional and even new means of data collection are still only the beginning of data sources. 

At the cutting edge of in-store data for example, employees are being fitted with tiny wi-fi boxes to track their every movement. When aligned to customer patterns, this data can be used to create new shift rosters that ensure no area is ever understaffed in a busy period. Meanwhile, some retailers are using weather sensors to measure the effect of heavy rain or baking sun on customer behavior, while others are using mobile-phone signals to track customers as they move around shopping malls.  

Unsurprisingly, KPMG's recent Consumer Executive Top of Mind survey found that 81 percent of senior consumer-company executives see data collection and analytics as key challenges.

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