Brexit: Why Big Data will be the Differentiator for UK retailers

Mike Merritt-Holmes, VP Services UKI & Nordics, Think Big Analytics.

 

Pre-Brexit, few would have predicted that some UK retailers such as ASOS would actually benefit from the economic effects of the referendum, both in the run-up to 23 June and in the aftermath of the ‘Leave’ vote. With many Europeans quick to take advantage of the weak pound, however, ASOS is not alone in its post-Brexit positivity.

 

It is widely accepted that these short-term gains won’t last forever, so what should business leaders in the retail sector be doing to levy the opportunities available to them, and optimize outcomes during these uncertain economic times? With big data able to deliver the insight that many businesses need at the moment, the time to get serious about actionable customer-driven analytics is now.

 

Power in Data Prediction

 

In the Brexit aftermath, big data can help to turn uncertainty into ‘informed insight’. Being able to predict how markets – and more to the point, the end consumer – are likely to react, will enable businesses to get ahead of the curve and differentiate themselves from competitors that fail to adopt analytics-led strategies. In short, big data has the ability to unleash a very favorable impact on UK retailers’ bottom lines.

 

For this reason, we see Big Data playing a crucial and game-changing role for UK retailers as Britain extracts itself from the European Union (EU) over the coming months and years.

 

While the quick returns that ASOS and others have enjoyed since the referendum result may have surprised some, it cannot be denied that Brexit does pose some significant threats for the UK’s retail industry in general terms. It is expected, for instance, that UK retailers will come up against higher supply and labor costs in the short to mid-term, and revised trade agreements with the EU are unlikely to sway in the favor of UK retailers. Despite this, if big data is intelligently applied, these threats can be better managed, and indeed, new opportunities unveiled.

 

Big Data & Brexit – Raising the UK’s Retail Revenue

 

Here are four big data opportunities that will help retailers to boost performance and revenues in the aftermath of Brexit:

 

  • European customers – big data and analytics will enable retail companies to profile European retail customer behavior against currency fluctuations and spending patterns by nationality, demographics, device, etc. This will inform business leaders about when and where to invest in order to capture as much custom as possible.

 

  • New regions – Retailers will likely need to focus on market development growth strategies as with any new restrictions between the UK and EU, the UK’s retail industry may need to focus on selling into other regions. Big data can inform optimal planning by providing insight around customer behavior.

 

  • Innovation, new products and revenue sources – Big data and analytics empowers innovation and new product development by providing insight that was unattainable before. This will help retailers to differentiate themselves, improve their competitive position in the market as well as generate new revenue streams.

 

  • Speed and agility – Big data enables real-time decision making so retailers can respond quickly to changing customer demand and market trends across all platforms.

 

Despite initial post-Brexit fears of huge economic damage in the UK as a result of retrenchment and revisions of trade agreements across key industries, it is clear the use of big data and analytics can unlock new opportunities for UK retailers. The ‘leave’ vote has forced UK businesses to become smarter and more refined with their use of data in order to outsmart competitors, and we’re looking forward to seeing further UK retailers use big data to thrive in the Brexit aftermath.

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