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The Influence of Database in the Retail Industry

Cover: The Influence of Database in the Retail Industry

It's no secret the retail industry is changing each and every year. Although there are many things that are changing within the industry, arguably the biggest change is the way in which consumers purchase services and goods. Back in the day, before the invention of the internet, consumers needed to visit a physical store in order to purchase a service or good. In today's world, that is no longer necessary. Consumers now have the option to purchase things online from the comfort of their own homes, and many have taken advantage of it. According to Statista, in 2018, the retail e-commerce sales in the United States were over $500 million. Furthermore, Statista projects that this number will increase every single year for the foreseeable future.

As you can see, more people are relying on technology and the internet to purchase the goods and services they desire. A great way to make sure your business is up to date with all the latest technologies is to use databases. Simply put, databases are sets of data that are held in a computer. There are two different types of databases, comprised of either structured or unstructured data. Structured data refers to things like e-commerce transaction data, CRM data, and POS transaction data. Unstructured data refers to things like social feeds, videos, and digital images. Both of these types of databases influence the retail industry tremendously, but for this article, I will be focusing specifically on structured data. Below are the three biggest influences structured data has on the retail industry.

Improves Customer Satisfaction

Databases help to improve overall customer satisfaction because they allow businesses to provide fast and easy service for their customers. One example of this is smart checkout technology. This type of technology enables your customers to purchase items from your store without actually being in your store. Not only can they make these purchases without being in your store, but it also eliminates the need for them to wait in line once they get to your store. The way in which they can do this is through the use of data connections that are enabled by their mobile devices. This is done by consumers scanning their phones as they enter your store. After they scan their phones, they then enter your store and pick up the items that they have purchased. As this is happening, the database system tracks the items chosen by each shopper. Because the system tracks the items in your store that have been taken by your shoppers, it allows them to walk in your store, take what they purchased, and leave. There is no need for them to wait on line or take out their wallets. If someone were to try and take something that they did not already pay for, the system will alert you immediately and you can then take the appropriate action. Thanks to smart checkout technology, consumers can now purchase online and immediately go pick it up at the physical store. This technology is made possible through the use of databases. By eliminating the need for your customers to wait in line, you are increasing overall customer satisfaction.

Another way in which databases can improve your overall customer satisfaction is through the use of chatbots. Whether it be an in-store chatbot, or a chatbot inside a mobile app or website, using chatbots powered by databases provide quick and easy information for your customers. For example, let's say your store is packed with people. Your store is so packed that everybody who works there is helping out shopper, and as a result, some customers now need to wait in order to receive the help that they need. By installing multiple in-store chatbots, you decrease, and potentially eliminate, the need for your shoppers to wait in order to receive help. These in-store chatbots have the ability to tell shoppers where a certain item is in the store, how much an item costs, and any other potential information that a shopper may need. These chatbots are able to store all of this information thanks to databases. The less amount of time customers need to wait, the higher their overall satisfaction is. Smart checkout technology and chatbots are just two of many examples of how the use of databases influences the retail industry, and improves your customer satisfaction.

Makes it Easier to Market Your Products Effectively

As stated previously, databases are essentially a storage unit on your computer. They can store all sorts of information that can help you better figure out who to market your product to. For example, data can provide you with accurate information on which type of people are buying certain products, such as their age, gender, ethnicity, etc. If you use the technology and find that 80 percent of people who buy your products are female, it would be immensely beneficial for you to come up with a marketing strategy to try and target females. Being able to access this information is a huge game changer in the retail industry, and makes it that much easier for you to market your product efficiently and effectively.

Increases Business Revenue

The inevitable result of using database technology is the immediate increase in revenue for your business. By having access to various types of business data, it makes it that much easier to come up with ways to increase your revenue. By storing all of your business information using databases, you can easily figure out which products are selling well, and which aren't. You can then use that information to allocate your business's resources accordingly. For example, if you check the data on which of your products are selling more than others, you can then accurately allocate more resources towards the products that are selling poorly, or the products that are selling well, depending on your marketing strategies.

In summary, database technology has a huge influence on the retail industry, and is very important for businesses to use if they want to be successful. Due to the fact that today's consumers rely so heavily on technology, it is crucial that businesses use it to their advantage.

About the writer: Nick Rojas combines 20 years of experience working with and consulting for small to medium business and a passion for journalism to help readers grow. He writes about technology, marketing, and social media for the aspiring entrepreneur. When Nick is not sharing his expertise, he can be found spending time at the beach with his dog Presto.

Join the #retail, #SmartStore and #Connected Journey conversations on Twitter @RetailNext, as well as at www.facebook.com/retailnext.

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