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How “Big” Is Data In The Retail Sector?

Big data in Retail sector

Big data is a technological matter which recently gathered a lot of interested from and within the retail sector. With examples and tangible applications ranging from marketing to proper development, the usage of big data is bigger than ever. Let’s analyse the matter in more detail, especially now that it has been heavily regulated (at least in Europe, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal) by GDPR. 

How Does It Operate In The Retail Sector? 

Big data, especially in the retail sector, operates by using data points to better tailor automated features or ad campaigns to users and their preferences. In simpler terms: when a user lands on a specific web page, an application or a piece of software gathers its behaviour.

Which is then processed and used by that very same application to either retarget its preferences with banner ads or to personalize the internal search results to increase the conversion rate. With this process in mind, it’s quite easy to understand why and how this technology is highly looked after by a lot of different retail titans, like Wal-Mart, for example.

Europe And The Cambridge Analytica Scandal 

Europe as a whole has recently been hit by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which was related to the usage of data points to exploit Facebook’s algorithm when targeting a specific users’ audience, which led to a specific GDPR section on the matter and, most importantly, a net limitation on the usage of big data when applied to any marketing finality. In 2019, in fact, in order to use any data-driven application on your website, you should properly declare which form of data you’re gathering and, most importantly, transparently say to the users that they are able to decline this process, keeping their data for themselves. 

In 2018, the usage of big data-related marketing strategies from top retailers amounted for over $12 billion. This clearly states how powerful the combination of highly precise gathered data and paid social ads was and still is to this very data. It has been projected how big data will soon take over any other form of analysis and will most likely become a dedicated branch in every single digital marketing agency before 2022.

Some app developers in the UK have also stated how the usage of big data for marketing purposes in a retailing world has been moving towards mobile and, logically, it’s not hard to understand why: since smartphones are connected to the world wide web 24/7, it could be possible (prior to the user’s consent) to permanently gather, process and therefore use data. 

To Conclude 

Big data in the retail sector is definitely still an extremely big factor. There have definitely been some changes in the recent past (especially after the above mentioned Cambridge Analytica Scandal), but we can safely say that the usage of data for either marketing or development goals will remain in the sector for long. 

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