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Study: Retail execs expect Big Data advantages within five years


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New York – Most retail executives expect the industry to take advantage of Big Data within five years. According to the 2014 Study on Retail and Big Data from Big Data analytics firm 1010data, Inc., which surveyed 250 executives across a range of retail sectors, 95% of respondents believe retail will capitalize on Big Data’s competitive advantages in the next five years.

That figure includes 50% of executives who believe it will occur in the next five years, 4% of executives who believe retail is already there, 19% who said that Big Data will reach its potential by the end of 2014, and 19% who said it has already happened.

While executives are starting to acknowledge the competitive advantages of Big Data, nearly half of the respondents (40%) said retailers need to gain a better understanding of how Big Data can solve their business problems. Additional key reasons why retailers are holding out on using Big Data solutions include:

• The cost and/or complexity of implementing Big Data needs to come down (39%)

• Need simplified Big Data solutions that are intuitive to business users (24%)

• Retailers are still challenged with basic business reporting and not ready for Big Data (24%)

• Need Big Data solutions to better address the needs of retailers (19%)

• Need better time to value for Big Data (16%)

Executives further elaborated on retailers’ biggest obstacles to getting the reporting and analytics users need to make better data driven business decisions, with 42% admitting that different users and departments have different ways of measuring the business. This was followed by:

• Can’t analyze data at low enough level of detail (e.g., store-SKU day-transaction-customer) (35%)

• Difficulty accessing and integrating the enterprise or third-party data users need to analyze (32%)

• Lack of self-service and long queues of reporting requests to IT (19%)

• Queries take too long to run (18%)

• Reporting tools can’t handle the level of sophistication of retailers’ business questions (16%)

“This study shows that while the retail sector is being impacted by Big Data today, there are still many more opportunities for retailers to use insights to optimize demand forecasting, merchandising, promotions, and loyalty program management,” said Sandy Steier, co-founder and CEO of 1010data. “When retailers truly embrace data discovery they quickly move beyond intuition and guesswork and instead rely on data-driven decisions.”

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