Bryan Gildenberg on Strategic Data Monetization


Bryan Gildenberg, Founder and CEO of Confluencer Commerce, discusses the strategic considerations retailers face regarding data monetization. Retailers must choose between sharing data to foster business growth through active partner participation or monetizing data for short-term financial gains. Monetizing data might limit the pool of partners to those who can afford to buy it, typically larger companies that favor the status quo. This choice involves a risk-return trade-off that retailers need to carefully evaluate, especially in narrow-margin sectors like grocery retail, where the temptation to convert data into immediate net income is high.

Bryan emphasizes the strategic implications of data monetization, cautioning that it could lead to an over-reliance on established businesses that prefer stability over innovation. Retailers must be mindful of these trade-offs to avoid becoming dependent on partners resistant to change. As retailers bring more data to the table, third-party data providers must fundamentally reinvent themselves to remain relevant. Companies like RetailNext, which help retailers optimize various operational aspects, illustrate the potential commercial benefits of integrating deeply with retailers' core propositions.

The evolving data ecosystem is expected to favor larger businesses with the capacity to integrate extensive data streams and apply machine learning for detailed analytics. This trend contrasts with the recent history of commerce, where small startups have often disrupted larger companies. Bryan suggests that the advancements in data and machine learning might shift the advantage back to big companies, enabling them to leverage their resources to outperform smaller competitors.

Over the next five years, Bryan anticipates a significant transformation in the business landscape, with larger companies potentially gaining the upper hand through sophisticated data analytics and machine learning capabilities. This shift could reverse the trend of small startups dominating larger enterprises, marking a new era in the competitive dynamics of commerce.

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