Because big data is complex and deals with a lot of information, most small businesses assume they cannot use it. This assumption could not be farther from the truth, as big data is one of the ways in which small businesses can succeed. The proper utilization of these data tools can help companies stand out from the competition, make more informed decisions, and increase their revenue. If you’re running a small company and want to take it to the next level, it’s about time you incorporate the actionable insights from big data.
What is Big Data?
In simple terms, this is a massive collection of data and grows rapidly. It provides so much information that traditional data tools may not be sufficient to analyze it. Some everyday examples of big data include social media platforms and stock exchanges, which generate many terabytes of data per day. This info can exist in structured, unstructured, or semi-structured forms. Structured data is relatively easy to work with, as the formats are predictable. Unstructured or semi-structured data is when the format is not known. While this data is not easy to work with, it can provide many benefits.
Benefits of using Big Data
In the information age, the more knowledge you have, the more power you wield. SAS, Qualtrics, and Google Analytics are some of today’s most prominent big data solutions. Through the help of technologies that access and crunch the numbers from Big Data, you can enjoy several perks.
- Identify trends
If you work in sales and wonder, “why is Big Data important in business?” you can’t find any better reason than the ability to identify market trends. By studying the behavioral patterns of consumers, you can predict where the market is heading. Demands for products and services inevitably change over time. Still, you can be ready for it by knowing why and how that change occurs. Big Data can take multiple factors into accounts, such as social media trends, seasonal effects, and economic conditions. All these factors help give you an accurate picture of what people are likely to buy. You can also use this data to identify issues on time and take corrective steps before the problem gets out of hand.
- Improve your online and offline stores
In terms of online stores, data can track how a person moves from product to product, which banner image or product layout caught their eyes. Likewise, you can use data from your security footage to see how customers move across the aisles in real-life stores. This can help you adjust the site and encourage people to spend more time and potentially purchase your product. In physical stores, you can arrange the layout to maximize the chances of a customer moving up and down aisles. This increases the number of products they see and utilizes the sunken-time fallacy to encourage them to buy.
Big data has already been used in grocery stores to determine that playing slower music creates a sense of calm and discourages people from rushing through the aisles. It also showed that keeping sought-after items in the middle of the aisle increases the time people spend roaming the store. You can use these analytics to determine the best arrangement for your online and physical retail store.
- Improve customer service
A common tip in the business world is providing personalized customer service. Personalization not only helps you target ads at a customer based on their unique identifiers. It also improves the value they derive from being your customer. Most businesses are becoming customer-centric to drive up sales. You need to focus on customer value to increase your reach.
Previously, determining what the customer considered as valuable was guesswork. However, Big Data empowers you to derive accurate conclusions about what the customers want without spending too much time or too many resources. By reading and evaluating customer responses, you can present your company as attentive and proactive. It can reap benefits such as brand loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Manage your running costs
Companies need to operate in the most efficient manner possible to maximize their net profits. Depending on the type of company you run, you would be getting operational data as well. This data could be information from the production line, sensors on delivery systems, or payment and ordering systems tracking. You can use Big Data to pinpoint whichever section of your company is operating below its optimal performance and rectify it. You can also deploy smart strategies to connect different segments of your operation.
Depending on how much machinery you use in your work, you could potentially create a somewhat autonomous work setup. This would allow for consistent, quality workflows while reducing the number of laborers you need to hire. The savings you make through this data not only increase your revenue but offer you the chance to outdo your competitors. You could use the savings, for example, to generate more sales and undercut your competition. Amazon regularly undervalues its items to increase its user base, which it then retains for more purchases down the line.
- Improve your hiring strategy
A company is only as good as its team. As your small business starts to grow, you would want to bring on the best talent you can afford and keep them engaged. So, you can use Big Data to accumulate a wealth of HR information. This includes absenteeism figures, productivity data, personal development reviews, and staff satisfaction. With this information, you can tweak your team structure to reward the most productive members or discuss any issues with team members performing below average. You can also ensure you meet your expected goals. Data from recruitment sites and social media can also help you target new and experienced workers that would be most beneficial if added to your team.
It might be intimidating at first, but Big Data provides you with valuable insights into the workings of your own company as well as market trends. Most of this information was unavailable to prior generations of entrepreneurs. Using the technology to your advantage allows you to have a leg up on the competition and help your company stand out. The sooner you start incorporating Big Data into your day-to-day operations, the faster your company will be able to grow and expand.