Using consumer data to understand your customers

The internet’s first personal data collectors were websites and applications. Now, consumer data is used to deliver targeted advertising and content, leading to higher returns. By tracking users’ activities online, marketers are able to analyse, enquire about and understand their audience.

More recently, intelligent technology in physical products has allowed companies in many industries to collect new types of information, including users’ locations and behavior. 

In this article, we explore the plethora of benefits brought about by consumer data and the various ways it has been optimised.

Allows for personalisation

The personalization this data allows, such as constant adaptation to users’ preferences, has become central to the product experience. (Google’s Nest thermostat, for example, autonomously adjusts heating and cooling as it learns home owners’ habits.)

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Ability to tackle complex challenges 

The rich new streams of data have also made it possible to tackle complex challenges in fields such as health care, environmental protection, and urban planning. 

One such example includes Medtronic’s digital blood-glucose meter . This product wirelessly connects an implanted sensor to a device that alerts patients and health care providers that blood-glucose levels are nearing troubling thresholds, allowing preemptive treatments. 

Another instance where data was immensely useful was in 2015 when Uber shared ride-pattern data with Boston officials so that the city can improve transportation planning and prioritize road maintenance. 

A more engaging user experience 

Today, businesses have realized that a good user experience is key for the bottom line. By knowing something about each user’s behaviors, motivations and contexts, we have the opportunity to deliver a variation of the core experience that is best suited to each individual user by using robust analytics and an adaptive user interface. 

For Netflix, the user experience was the price of entry, and the viewing data they gathered and analyzed became the strategic advantage of the business. Looking back, it is because of their approach that we don’t order special TV/ movie packages anymore. Instead, thanks to Netflix analytics and algorithms, we have our viewing experience tailored to our specific tastes.. This is one example of a new breed of data-driven user experiences created by companies like Amazon, Pandora, Sephora, Nike, Progressive and Disney.

While this flood of data presents enormous opportunities for abuse, consumers appreciate that data sharing can lead to products and services that make their lives easier and more entertaining, educate them, and save them money. 

Take for instance:

  • Samsung’s Galaxy V smartphone uses digital exhaust to automatically add the contacts users call most to a favorites list. 
  • Google’s predictive application Google Now harnesses profiling data to create an automated virtual assistant for consumers. 
  • Disney likewise uses profiling data gathered by its MagicBand bracelet to enhance customers’ theme park and hotel experiences and create targeted marketing. 
  • In 2018 Facebook filed a patent for ‘Predicting Household Demographics Based on Image Data’ that will use facial recognition technology to profile “photos posted by the user and photos posted by other users socially connected with the user” as well as data from captions and other text to “build more information about the user and his/her household in the online system, and provide improved and targeted content delivery to the user and the user’s household.

Repurposing, repackaging and reanalysing data 

understanding your customers with data

Fundamentally, every business — regardless of the product and service — is a data company. Those who wield data to their advantage will find that exponential growth and long-term profitability are not far behind.

It is essentially an infinite resource, the value of which isn’t easily diluted. A sufficiently large data set can be repackaged, reanalysed and sweated many times over. It provides multiple opportunities for businesses to grow revenue and market share. 

This is why, having recognized the potential consumer data exudes, a local 2-year old start-up was birthed. Innergia Labs is a local two-year-old start-up that provides a cloud-based business intelligence and data analytics software suite called SYCARDA. SYCARDA is delivered using the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, making it a subscription service.

As SYCARDA was specifically developed with retail and food and beverage (F&B) businesses in mind, the vast majority of players in this space simply do not sweat their data like they should.

Examples of what SYCARDA has done and some businesses they helped with their product: 

  • Innergia Labs helped unlock millions in additional revenue for a local restaurant chain, allowing the company to be made aware of what the most popular a la carte items are then designing a set meal promotion to bring in more customers during off-peak hours. This resulted in an increase of annual revenue by 8%, and brought in RM500,000 a month.
  • Another F&B operator was able to drastically improve their stock-keeping unit (SKU) efficiencies, making them realise that their top 10 sellers contributed 30% of the revenue, while their bottom 100 menu items contributed just 6%. 

As such, this solidifies the fact that data, when used properly, can create an impact on SME businesses, especially in the F&B industry and give them an upper-hand in knowing their customers and catering to their needs. This thus reinforces the fact that consumer data and companies who promote utilizing consumer data, are hugely beneficial. 

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