DataProjectsMaking use of Open Data in Retail Industry

November 20, 2020by Julius Onyancha0

Open data has been and is still a driving force behind business process re-engineering. Even though most businesses do not necessarily consider open data a key attribute in business performance, it creates a lot of opportunities that gear the business towards competitive edge. Identifying correct open data relevant to business needs is a challenge particularly in customer engagement and workforce management.

Data about a product or services delivered to end users is openly available through social media and the web. In the recent past such data has overwhelmed existing data management tools in terms of storage, processing and delivery. Current analysis and reporting tools are overstretched, and sacrifices are made, both in the storage of data and the analytics run against it.

Therefore, the biggest challenge that most business encounter is the variety and velocity of open data at their disposal. Useful information is captured in a variety of new formats, i.e. customer reviews, click stream from web interactions, or location data, etc. Integrating this unstructured data into a traditional relational database is difficult, if not impossible.


How does Business Process Automation and Analytics come in play?

Identifying data insights in open data using machine learning and analytics involves 1) interrogating data about a given business scope, 2) mapping the data with end user’s expectation so as to create personalised dynamic reports that tell a good story not only about the business but user behavioural flow as well. Any business organisation capable of adapting a dynamic way of reporting business activity will ultimately use open big data to improve the customer experience while transforming business productivity and well attaining a competitive edge. With machine learning and analytics, businesses can analyse with a click of a button all latest customer’s reviews, feedback across all social media platform and create on-demand reports with much ease.

The beauty of having real-time feedback as a business is to aid on-demand decision-making process. For example, you do not have to wait until the close of business if customers have gone frenzy on the web complaining about food served or employee to make changes. What is crucial in a business is how fast you respond to customer feedback, positive or negative. With real-time update customer feedback reports on your dashboard, business has made it visible to customers that they prioritize customer interest and concerns towards services or a product in the market.


In Summary:

  1. Customer insight plays a critical role in gaining competitive advantage especially in the retail industry where customer reviews are available over the social media platforms.
  2. Customer insight is the intersection between the interests of the consumer and the features of the brand. Having a good understanding of what your customers are talking about your business will gain a competitive advantage against your competitors.
  3. The challenges are how do we extract the kinds of useful, meaningful managerial insights from big data in the hospitality industry that will result in a sustained competitive advantage?”
  4. The retail industry should be willing to venture into new methodologies of learning user’s dynamic interests/needs in order to gain a competitive advantage.


Julius Onyancha

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