Three Unexpected Benefits Big Data Offers Small Companies
With everything written about Big Data, it might seem that Big Data is only really relevant for large corporations who have massive amounts of data, have access to multiple data sources and have the time and money to develop a Big Data strategy. While it is indeed the case that still primarily large corporations are working with Big Data, Big Data also offers significant benefits for small(er) companies. So let’s have a look at some of the, unexpected, benefits of Big Data for small organisations.
Small companies often run their business based on knowledge of how the market behaves; intuition or gut feeling and years of experience. However, today there are many Big Data startups that allow you, with relatively little effort and money, to base your decision on data, so-called Big-Data-as-a-Service Solution providers. What if, for example, as a small retailer you can analyze social media conversations and combine it with your sales data to discover new trends or sales opportunities? Or what about a small online company that can track how a visitors behave on your website to understand what drives those visitors and how to engage with them to improve your conversion? Basically, Big Data offers a lot of potential for small companies, which more or less result in three distinctive benefits.
Great Insights at Low to No Costs
Large corporations have a lot of data and multiple data sources. Combining these and analyzing all that data requires dedicated platforms and technologies either on-premises or in the cloud. Developing such a platform, can become quite expensive; the Big Data strategy implemented by UPS, for example, cost $ 1 billion a year.
Naturally, small companies do not have to go this far for great insights. There are multiple solutions available that offer great analytics for small companies. Seems far-fetched? Nowadays, it is relatively straightforward to monitor and analyze in real-time a wide variety of data sources, including social media conversations and sales data, to guide your decision-making. Some companies even offer such insights for free, for example, Google Analytics. This is one of the many tools you can use to track exactly how a visitor behaves on your website and how much revenue he/she generates. As such, these platforms offer insights that will help you in your decision-making.
Collaboration is the New Competitive Advantage
As a small retailer, bar owner, restaurant or other small business, Big Data enables you to work together with you competing colleagues and as such compete against the large competitors. Using the power of combined analytics, more market insights will be revealed, which allows you to better position you and better approach your customers. I shared a great example of this some time ago when the Israeli Big Data startup Weissbeerger combines beer data from different pubs to understand what the market wants. This allows individual pubs to adjust their offering when required and increase their profits.
Of course, this can also be done by other small retailers or businesses; combining sales data to, for example across cities, to reveal insights that normally only large corporations would have.
Local Preferences Bring You Further
Small companies should focus on their local environment that they deal with. Of course, this seems obvious, but Big Data enables you to zoom in on the preferences and likes/dislikes of your local crowd a lot more. Getting to know these preferences, combined with the personal touch often seen with, especially small retailers, can offer significant benefits compared to your large competitors.
Next to that, small retailers can easily adjust their stores based on local preferences when they combine and analyze all sorts of local drivers. As a local small company, you can use a Big-Data-as-a-Service solution and build a toolkit for optimizing the in-store experience, also for small retailers. This can help to drive product discovery, consideration and sales and enables the retailer to stand-up against for example Amazon and stand-out against the local competition. Algorithms can analyze in real-time a variety of inputs such as on-site shopper behavior, geography, referred keywords and other attributes to offer specific recommendations for the retailer and customer. Combined with local preferences, a retailer can as such better target their customers.
It may be clear that Big Data offers ample opportunities for small businesses. By working together with competing colleagues, using local preferences and using tools that are available for free or at low costs, you can achieve fantastic insights that will enable you to compete successfully with your larger competitors.