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Big Data meets mobile: personalised choices on small screens

Mobile Phones On Display In A Shop.

With the emergence of multiple data-generating channels and streams, data is growing at an explosive pace.


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IDC, a market research firm, forecasts a 44-fold increase in data volume between 2009 to 2020. This explosion in data volumes is mainly due to the increase in use of mobile devices and the Internet of Things.

Thanks to these technologies, we leave behind a long trail of digital information from phone records, mobile purchases, text messages, browsing history, social media, GPS and so much more.

Insights into consumer behaviour

As data progressively increases, understanding consumer behavior becomes imperative. Companies now have the unique opportunity to learn more about their customers through the digital footprints they leave behind in the virtual world. Businesses across verticals have woken up to the promise of big data and are now looking for ways to make sense of it.

Why? Simply because of the enormous potential of big data led marketing. Since customers use their mobile devices extensively, it makes sense to reach out to them through these preferred devices.

Already, 15 percent of sales for leading retailers happen through mobile devices, and it is estimated that 60 percent of smart phone users shop through their mobile devices. To top it, 50 percent of smart phone users use their devices to check prices while another 21 percent use it for product search.

To take these numbers to new heights and to further boost sales, retail companies are turning to big data to help them learn more about their customers.

Enhanced customer engagement

Big data and mobile technology go hand in hand in many ways; mobile technology creates a plethora of data that big data technology harnesses effectively.

Moreover, the results from big data analysis are put to use through the same mobile devices, thereby completing a circle of information mining and analysis in today’s digital world.

In fact, the patterns and consumer behavior discerned through big data can be put to a multitude of uses. A case in point is serving ads and e-coupons to mobile users depending on their location and context.

For example, if a user is near store X, then it is possible to send details of sales and deals that store X is offering. This information could entice customers to step into the store and make a purchase, or at the very least make them sit up and take notice of store X.

Building loyalty through personalization

Targeted advertising not only increases revenues for businesses, it also enhances customer experiences, by providing personalised reach to customers. Such personal gestures tend to improve customer engagement that over time, and can lead to loyalty.

Technology has altered the retail relationship with consumers. With ever-increasing shopping options, run-of-the-mill consumer loyalty programs alone will not help in sustaining revenues.

More and more businesses are turning to personalisation; which leads to better engagement, and helps build a loyal customer base.

Adding relevance to personalisation

Currently, personalised recommendations are based on an increasingly narrowing sliver of transactional data an enterprise has about a customer. A customer who has an ever-widening sphere of other interactions and influences away from the enterprise and across various categories – from books to holidays to food, clothing or time of day one prefers for shopping or favourite retailers and locations.

Revolutionary mobile apps are the future of choice led marketing

Finding ways to reduce big data to relevant data, and then delivering a few relevant choices on apps and on the small screens of mobiles, is the key to effective customer engagement. Revolutionary apps like personal choice guides and sales assistants, that simplify and deliver choice, will make customer interactions more relevant and engaging.

For instance, Crayon Data’s proprietary cross-category Taste Graph, combines internal and external data across areas like taste, influence, context and behaviour to plot the affinity of every product in the world to every other.

This massive graph is then used, to build revolutionary apps like Crayon’s MAYA – a personal concierge that simplifies and delivers ultra-personalised choices through an app.

Ultra-personalised choices in a mobile world

The digital era consumer is on the go, working at play and playing at work, and shopping is often play enabled by mobile devices and improved wireless access. The virtual and physical worlds are layered over each other, as consumers communicate in a virtual world, while they move through a physical one. Tapping into the consumer’s behaviour and tastes, striking the right balance between privacy and ultra-personalization to serve up limited, but highly relevant choices that make the purchase decision easier, is the holy grail of modern customer engagement.

Without big data analytics, that quest would be futile, but with the right solutions, customer engagement will move to a whole new paradigm based on genuine customer behavior, tastes, influences and context. Served up fresh on the illuminated screen of a mobile device.

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Srikant Sastri
Srikant Sastri provides strategic leadership as the co-founder of Crayon Data, the ambitious Singapore-headquartered start-up, which aims to build a global business around a Big Data platform and products. This is his third start-up. Srikant is a seasoned entrepreneur and bridge-builder. As a successful entrepreneur, Srikant had founded India and Southeast Asia’s largest CRM & Digital agency, Solutions – Digitas, in 1995. The business achieved scale (2000 employees) and market leadership before being acquired by the Publicis Groupe. In his most-recent role as VivaKi India Chairperson, Srikant led an ambitious M&A strategy to help the Publicis Groupe establish digital leadership in India, through three cutting-edge acquisitions. Respected as a leading marketing & CRM practitioner, Srikant started his career at Unilever and McCann – Erickson, and was recently inducted into the DMAi ‘Hall of Fame’. He has been on the jury at Cannes Advertising Festival. At Crayon Data, Srikant loves being in the midst of crazy ideas, energetic people, and ambiguity. Srikant works closely with, and nurtures several tech start-ups, and is an active angel investor. Srikant is an engineering undergraduate, and an MBA. His other interests include current affairs, contemporary history, and economic development.

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