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Predictive and social analytics identify customer micro-trends: Zensar

Predictive and social analytics identify customer micro-trends: Zensar

IT services company sees value in using analytics in qualifying consumer behaviour

Micro-trends in consume behaviour can be found by listening to social media and influencers, according to Zensar Retail.

Retail vertical head, Stacey Shulman, whom also draws on her past experience as CIO of American Apparel, said it is just as important to know when a micro-trend starts as when it ends.

“When you know when it starts, you’re able to respond and order enough of the product so that you have it on the shelf,” she said.

“Knowing when it ends tells you not to change buying patterns permanently, otherwise you’ll overstock.”

If a retailer does not understand the micro-trends created by influencers, then Shulman said a spike may occur and no one will know why it happened.

Reports and processes can be carried out as usual, though Shulman said it will only aid in guessing why it happened.

“You can try to get the information anecdotally by contacting the stores, but in a lot of cases they don’t know either,” she said.

Getting more from retail

The short term benefit of analytics is the “quantified and qualified” information it generates around consumer events that may be taking place.

Retailers currently rely on sales figures showing what they sold last year and if it is up or down, though Shulman said that is not qualified information.

“When you bring in robust analytics, you can then start to get quality information,” she said.

Shulman adds the added context makes a “big difference” in how a retailer takes action when the sales are up or down.

Beyond the implementation of analytics, Shulman is also seeing value of gamification in growing business at retail, which she describes as a “different twist on customer loyalty.”

“Consumers nowadays want to engage with the brand, and the best way to do that is to have fun with them,” she said.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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