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Customer experience

How one mega retailer approaches the data opportunity

Article 24-Nov-2022 Read time: min
By Kyndryl Staff

It’s a pretty good bet Goldilocks and the Three Bears wasn’t written for a business audience.

Even so, the title character’s search for a bowl of porridge serves as a metaphor for any company trying to find the just-right serving of data to drive decision-making.

Numbers bear this out. Enterprises utilize only 32%1 of the data they have at their disposal. That means 68 percent of the information most organizations collect goes unused.

By now, the hidden potential of overlooked, underutilized, or misinterpreted data is well documented. The information in this proverbial “Goldilocks zone” can help companies better understand the spending habits and buying behaviors of their customers, leading to improved planning across the organization. Consider London-based retailer, Currys, an example of a company that’s acting on the opportunity.      

“Retail has always been about big data and having individual transactional information that we link to customer records over time,” says Robert Bates, Head of Decision Sciences for the purveyor of technology products and services that operates online and through 830 stores in eight countries. “But how we use that data has been completely transformed.”

The catalyst for this data evolution

Two hot technologies are in play: AI and machine learning. Over the past five years, retailers have increasingly turned to AI and machine learning to narrow their marketing focus while simplifying the customer journey and reimagining the overall shopping experience.

For example, data scientists routinely employ machine learning to analyze transactions and build out modeling based on what, where, how—and to a degree, why—specific items were purchased. Using 5-10 lines of data from a single record, an analyst can anticipate future actions and market to that person with targeted products and promotions.

“That [level of personalization] is great if you know everything about the customer,” Bates admits. “But in reality, a lot of the times, you don’t. You may only have partial information. The trick for me is how we build out those basic models [based on the data we have] so that we start to fill in more and more information about the customer the deeper we go.”

Hear more about Currys’ journey

By identifying the quantity and quality of data to support its strategic plan, Currys—much like any company that channels its inner Goldilocks—stands poised to realize the full power of informed decision-making for years to come.

Click below to hear Bates talk in more detail about how Currys uses machine learning and data-driven insights to make better business decisions.

1 Rethink Data Report, Seagate, 2020