In the old days, people went to the same local bakery every time they wanted to buy a loaf of bread. Before they placed their order, the bakery owner would have already had the fresh loaf packed and ready to go. The owner would ask what was new with the shopper’s family, and perhaps remind them to order a cake or balloons soon so it would be ready for their daughter or son’s birthday. This personalized service was excellent and the thought of shopping at any other bakery was inconceivable.
Nowadays shoppers buy bread at the supermarket, a convenience store, or even online. There’s hardly any interaction with the owner. While the concept of personalized service is changing for many, companies are investing in big data so they can start providing the kind of custom treatment that’s long been missing from the shopping experience.
For instance, what comes to mind when you think of cameras that utilize facial recognition detection that automatically suggest skincare products or makeup goods to help refine the texture and complement the structure of your face? Crazy or cool? Well, put forth your best smile ladies and gents, because it’s already happening at some stores today.
You should already be familiar with those targeted offers that are linked to your loyalty cards and the amount of data the big grocery store chains collect on all of their shoppers – but what do they do with it?
Well, they use the data to build a demographic profile of you, and collect data about how loyal you are, what you buy and how much you spend. Retailers and supermarkets are using this data to help predict trends about what goods shoppers are adopting and what they’re staying fiercely loyal too. Furthermore, pulling data is complemented by mining from social media networks where advertisers can provide deals on products directly to consumers based on likes and social activity.
So the next time you’re making your weekly grocery run, think about the purchases you’re making on a frequent basis. Your unusual switch from kale to bibb lettuce can activate savings coupons at your next checkout, your rare stock up of Sour Patch Kids last week can be generating a future buy one, get one free deal, and that downgrade from brand-name yogurt to generic a few days ago is being attributed to last week’s promotional sale.