If, like me, you were lucky enough to go to the eCommerce Expo last week, two buzzwords were thrown into every talk that I attended – Big Data and Personalisation. Even if you weren’t at the event, you will probably have heard of these terms in one way or another.
But what does Big Data and personalisation actually mean and how can we use them to our advantage?
Personalisation and Big Data go hand in hand. Without the data, you can’t provide a personalised experience to the customer. But without the personalisation you can’t collect the data to give you unique information about the customer.
So what exactly is big data?
Gartner defined it as high volume (lots of it), velocity (moves fast) and variety (lots of different types). It sounds impressive, in fact every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilisation up to 2003. But it’s how companies use and filter the data and turn it into actionable insight that matters, and that isn’t easy to do.
Image courtesy of Elaine Cook’s slides at eCommerce Expo
You need to be able to filter through the uninteresting and unhelpful data to uncover the useful data. It’s also important that the data is analysed regularly to ensure that it’s accurate. If used in the right way, Big Data can allow companies to know their customers better and act on that information to provide a personalised experience. One company that has used data to give the customer a unique experience is Pizza Hut.
By using data, the website can tailor the experience to the customer based on their location, what device they are using and how they have previously browsed the site. For example, it provides the top five pizzas based on where you’re located. Below is an example of how the website used my location in Oxford Circus to tailor my search results.
However, if I am located in ‘Newbury’ it gives me a different result based on the top five pizzas in that restaurant.
Tailoring the search results like this has returned some impressive results for Pizza Hut. The number of pages seen per visit has increased by 75% and customer reservations at the restaurants have increased by over 30%.
If personalisation can increase profit margins then it seems that more businesses should harness data analysis and feed it back into their digital strategies. Use your data in the right way and it can work well for you. In our digital world we have the power and knowledge to collect and understand a huge wealth of online information to optimise our user’s digital journeys. So think about how you’re using your data and how you can personalise your users experiences because Big Data is around to stay.
Produced by Becky Canvin, Digital Content Manager, Brandcast Media.