Carpe Datum (Seize the Data)

Ok, so the Latin translation of Seize the Data is actually carpe notitia. Better yet, it should really be Seize the Big Data which would translate to carpe magnus notitia. But with that much Latin, I’m already starting to lose you.

So back to the reality of category management. An environment that’s starting to feel as hostile and difficult to survive in as the post-apocalyptic world of a Mad Max movie. But there’s hope for category managers who are savvy enough to take advantage of insights from big data.

Don’t buy it?  The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that retailers using big data have the potential to increase operating margins by more than 60 percent.

What is big data?  We like the Oxford Dictionary which defines it as “extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.”

Consumers now buy products across multiple channels and make purchase decisions based on a wide variety of factors such as customer experiences, product ratings and price comparisons. In the process, they leave a trail of information detailing their path to purchase.

The ability to leverage big data customer insights is proving to be a huge competitive advantage for companies who can extract and distill this information. Yet in a recent JDA Voice of the Category Manager survey, only 17% of respondents felt their company is highly successful in their ability to mine consumer data and generate usable insights. In fact, nearly 70% said they are “behind on leveraging predictive analytics for improved pricing and merchandising.”

By properly mining and analyzing customer buying data, category managers can develop a deeper understanding of shopper insights, buying patterns and demand trends. Insights that will develop more localized product assortments and space plans, create more personalized marketing and build closer customer relationships – all of which should lead to higher sales and profits.

In today’s ever-changing, hyper-competitive, omni-channel retail world, winning the day may ultimately depend on the ability of manufacturers and retailers to seize the data.


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