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Big Data could mean big business for retailers

Christian Baumann

Christian Baumann, Head of Value Added Services, SIX Payment Services

Today’s retailers know their customer better than ever before.  They understand who they are, what they buy, when they buy, how they like to pay, and what they think of a product or brand. Every customer visit and touch point, be it in the store, online or on a mobile device, produces a stream of data for the retailers to explore.

Christian Baumann, Head of Value Added Services, SIX Payment Services

Christian Baumann, Head of Value Added Services, SIX Payment Services

Big data analytics has become a vital tool in all aspects of the retail sector and offers incredible customer insight and understanding for retailers to explore in order to make their business more transparent and commercially successful.

Smaller retailers may ask themselves whether they want or need these insights. If analytics can provide them with better connections and understanding of their customers, and they cannot afford to analyse the data themselves, how would they capitalise on the wealth of information available?

There are tremendous benefits that retail industries can obtain by using data analytics. By analysing customer data, retailers can better understand their customers, adopt the best strategy to personalise their shopping experience, actively engage with existing customers and importantly, acquire new ones.  They are also able to benchmark themselves against the competition and improve their overall business. This is where data analytics comes into its own.

In today’s digitalised marketplace and the increasing need to define a competitive edge in every sector, the opportunities to act upon accurate insights have become clearer.  For example, customer loyalty can be improved through reward schemes; new products offers and improved services can be promoted, and new revenue streams explored. By clearly understanding their data, retailers are able put the right product in the right place for the right customer as well as to connect with customers via their preferred channels. Overall, better understanding their data allows retailers to remain competitive.

In the case of larger retailers, they may have already performed their own data analysis to some degree or obtained it through other sources such as till providers. Or, they may expect to receive the information from payment service providers as part of their commercial arrangement.

As retailers chosen technology partner, payment providers are already adept at generating customer insights from data which means they are able to provide added value products and services to merchants, such as:

  • Enhancement of the loyalty journey – merchants can recognise when a customer has entered a store for the first time so a card payment can be linked to a retail offer and promote and nurture future loyalty.
  • Improved efficiency – ‘heat maps’ based on payment frequency, linked to factors such as the weather, holidays, or social and local cultural events.
  • Increased security – identification of payment patterns can improve security and provide fast and convenient check-out facilities, where traditional multi-step security checks may increase payment abandonment rates.
  • Market intelligence – potential connections made between payment analytics and other financial systems that can improve general market understanding and benchmarking.

Payment providers have an enormous amount of customer data at their disposal and one of the greatest benefits of working with and using this data is how precise it can be.Payment providers can help retailers understand how loyalty schemes can promote a particular offer to a relevant target group, at a specific time, and through the most appropriate channel be it desktop, mobile device or in-store. This increases effectiveness saves time and resources and avoids the cost of targeting non-relevant groups.

Big data can help generate insights and provide an improved service proposition for customers. This can be taken a step further by capturing new opportunities that extend beyond the boundaries of traditional payment methods that will enable retailers to win new customer segments and open up additional revenue streams through product cross-selling.

At SIX we see the value in collaborating with best-of-breed partners in order to provide high-quality services for retailers throughout Europe. In our home markets of Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg we are market leaders, renowned for the extensive international experience. We are one of the few payment providers to supply combined POS and e-commerce payment solution and an Omni-channel solution that is now high in demand in order to support a seamless customer experience across all channels. Being present in a variety of verticals across Europe, means we are in a strong position to collaborate with other players in order to enhance our proposition to our customers.

Investing in new types of research helps payment providers to capture the greatest value and insights. SIX has participated in the Swiss innovation ‘Hackathon’ where we harness the analytic power of smart programmers and devise new products for our customers, using location-based services, predictive analysis to present emerging opportunities for benchmarking or loyalty schemes such as gift cards, guarantees or cashback offers.

The business of data and payments is evolving rapidly and we are committed to playing a significant role in this environment, working with banks and merchants, providing new value-added services along with an evolving and extending payments value chain.

The ever-increasing pace of technological development within the retail sector means that the customer relationship has never been closer or as well defined.  Retailers that embrace, adapt and capitalise on the opportunities data analytics presents are more likely to succeed in a fiercely competitive and ever-changing landscape.

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