Posted by Jon Pilkington on January 4, 2016

The holiday shopping season has set in, and retailers will have a range of opportunities to collect valuable data related to customer behaviors, analyze it with advanced intelligence solutions and apply the insights to future strategies. However, core responsibilities and requirements must be properly handled to ensure that the information generated can actually be used within an analytics program, including data preparation, cleaning and storage-related matters.

By leveraging the support of a managed service provider for analytics needs, leaders will not only be granted more time to focus on their strategies this holiday shopping season, but will also ensure that the technologies are being handled properly. This time of year tends to put a cap on the past 11 months, and dictate the future of companies going into 2016, meaning that intelligence solutions can be invaluable drivers of revenue for months to come when used properly.

Analytics this Thanksgiving weekend
First and foremost, the National Retail Federation estimated that 135.8 million individuals in the United States will be shopping in stores this Thanksgiving weekend, and 183.8 million will do so digitally on Cyber Monday. No other weekend sees that level of traffic in retail locations, and chances are it will lead to a massive flood of data related to shopping behaviors, customer preferences and more, which can then be used in an intelligence strategy.

Perhaps the biggest opportunity will come on Cyber Monday, especially if companies are using real-time analytics. This would essentially allow them to take information generated on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and quickly garner insights to improve performance on Cyber Monday. Going a step further, Cyber Monday will almost certainly result in massive amounts of data accumulating as well.

How will businesses capitalize on holiday shopping data?How will businesses capitalize on holiday shopping data?

With this in mind, it should be clear that analytics must be a priority in the coming weeks. Companies that have not yet ironed out their intelligence programs should do so soon, and leverage managed services to get deployments underway more accurately and quickly. With data preparation and similar solutions in place, all of the information created Thanksgiving weekend can be made far more valuable.

Applications for marketing
Gartner recently reported that 98 percent of marketers are now working on a convergence of online and offline campaigns, trying to ensure a consistent brand voice across all platforms in the process.

“There is little doubt that digital marketing is now mainstream,” Gartner Group Vice President Yvonne Genovese explained. “Marketers no longer make a clear distinction between offline and online marketing disciplines. As customers opt for digitally led experiences, digital marketing stops being a discrete discipline and instead becomes the context for all marketing. Digital marketing is now marketing in a digital world.”

Intelligence solutions, especially when fueled by major shopping data increases such as those that take place over Thanksgiving weekend, can help marketers more seamlessly and progressively merge their online and offline advertising efforts. Looking forward, firms that get analytics strategies right will be better positioned to excel in their respective marketplaces.

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