ImageIt has been made eminently clear that business intelligence conveyed through big data has a majorly significant role to play in the retail business sector. Within this industry, companies of all sizes – ranging from larger enterprises to smaller local chains with only a handful of locations – are using the aggregation and quantification that big data allows for to develop initiatives and best practices that ultimately benefit their bottom lines.

Even though these tools have been adopted on a fairly significant scale as of now, it is just as true that their utility within the sector will only increase as time goes by. Recent industry analysis examples have borne this theory out. As such, if your retail business isn't currently using big data to its fullest potential – or has yet to adopt and implement the software platforms that form the basis of this tool – it may behoove you to look at how data and analytics can do even more for your company's customers – and its revenue.

Enhancing the shopping experience
Big data, particularly within the context of predictive analytics, has been proven to be highly beneficial to retail. Using purchase histories and demographic information can help business owners and marketers steer sales and promotions in the best possible directions. However, that is hardly the limit to big data's usefulness.

Recently, market research firm PSFK Labs released the fourth annual report in its series "The Future of Retail," focusing on what those in the industry should consider in 2014. It made a point of noting that customers expect to enjoy a shopping experience that's perfectly tailored to them across all channels (in-store, online and via mobile). For this to occur, big data analytics must – and can – be used to offer the direct customer service and personalization that so many consumers seek. Handling customer information at a high volume will be essential.

Determining lifetime value
According to CMO, big data is also capable of quantifying what an individual customer will be worth to a business – in terms of revenue and the potential for referrals to new consumers, among other metrics – over a certain period of time. It can also help determine how long that value may last.

While the news source's example specifically pertained to the hotel industry, there is no reason why the same concepts cannot hold true for retailers. The key is not limiting the outlook in this case to the short term – making projections for customers' six-month values and beyond will be most helpful.

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