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Big Data: Informative, But Who Can Explain It?


big data, shoppertrak, data, retail, salesIt’s a rough back-to-school shopping climate this year for retailers. Many are finding they have to rely on heavy promotions and steep discounts in order to entice customers to spend. Even normally strong performers in the industry are reporting disappointing figures and price wars could grow fierce.

This leaves retailers wondering where their time, efforts and resources should best be directed for optimal results. Do they get caught up in the price wars, or would their focus be better served competing more effectively on a different level? Retailers understand that it’s imperative to prominently position themselves in the minds of consumers, but what’s the best way to do it?

Of course, retailers have at their disposal endless streams of data to help clarify these decisions. However, this vast quantity of information can often leave them more confused. That’s why it’s critical they understand the context and value in order to use it most effectively. Victor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier said it best in their book Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think:

“Big Data is a resource and a tool. It is meant to inform, rather than explain; it points us toward understanding, but it can still lead to misunderstanding, depending on how well or poorly it is wielded.” (197)

The ones who hold vast amounts of data and have the means, experience and skills to add value to that data to release actionable insights are the ones who will thrive in this retail climate.

ShopperTrak has been helping retailers do precisely this for over 15 years through our people counting systems. We understand that power lies in the ability to distinguish meaningful data from the extraneous and then make the right connections to enhance understanding for strategic decision making. By establishing critical tools based on massive data sets, ShopperTrak has provided the benchmarks and guidance required by retailers to find the right solutions to improve performance.


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