retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Time has a piece on the trend of the month (or maybe the year ... or the decade ... depending on how things work out): Big Data.

"From healthcare to finance to professional sports, data is being collected and analyzed like never before — but much of it goes on behind the scenes where the average person may not even notice. The retail sector, however, is different. By definition it interacts with average folks in a way that few other industries do, and retailers are interested in learning as much about their customers as they can. In the process, they are radically altering the buying experience for customers — both online and, increasingly, also in the world of bricks and mortar stores.

"If you’ve done any shopping online recently – you’ve probably already seen Big Data in action. We’ve all experienced it: You go shopping for a pair of shoes online, put them in your virtual shopping cart, but then for some reason change our mind. Afterwards, seemingly every site you visit features an ad for that very pair of shoes at that same online store. The reason? Online retailers can give you a virtual identification number and track you as you go from site to site, and purchase targeted ads for products they already know you’re strongly interested in."
KC's View:
You can check out the whole story here, as part of the Time "future of retail" series.

There would seem to be a simple truth at work here - that knowing more means selling more.