More retailers using analytics, but barriers to effective use remain

A new survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit finds that nearly all respondents’ businesses have seen a positive economic return from investment in data analysis for the strategy area.

Also, the single biggest barrier to retailers making effective use of data is figuring out what is useful amidst the overload — a problem cited by half of the respondents.

These are among some of the major findings of The Data Storm: Retail and the Big Data Revolution, a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by Wipro, a leading global information technology, consulting and outsourcing company.

> See also: Tesco's power analytics

The report, based on a survey of C suite executives from the retail sector in North America and Europe, examines how retailers are reacting to, and how leaders are benefiting from, increasing volumes of data.

It examines the role of data in customer experience, the benefits it is delivering in omni-channel commerce and corporate strategy and the regulatory challenges facing retailers, as they accrue greater and greater quantities of information.

78% of all respondents’ businesses have seen a positive economic return from investment in data analysis for the strategy area.

However, only 46% are confident that their firm’s analytical abilities are keeping up with data volumes. Tied for the second-biggest barrier to using large volumes of data is concern over whether doing so would really help improve decisions (32%).

Nevertheless, respondents all say their firms are prioritising data collection, but still only 36% of respondents believe that they have a well-defined policy for analysing the most valuable information.

>See also: Data mistakes lose supermarkets billions

'This research shows that while retailers realize the value of maximizing their use of big data and analytics, many are still unable to utilize the data they are collecting in full,' said Srini Pallia, senior VP and Global Head, RCTG (Retail, Consumer Goods, Transportation and Government) Business Unit, Wipro.

'To get the full value from the data they are collecting, retailers need to explore new avenues to apply data analytics throughout the organization that will improve decision making, efficiency and interaction with customers.'

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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