Welcome to the second issue of Analytics Innovation.
The run-up to Christmas is a particularly stressful time for organizations across all industries, though especially so for retailers, for whom the season is often make or break.
Retailers are operating in an increasingly competitive sector with ever-tighter margins. Their major advantage, however, is the sheer volume of data that they are collecting about their customers. This is coming from loyalty cards, as well as an increased use of ecommerce. Interaction with retailers’ own social media pages can also provide a raft of information that they can use.
There are numerous issues around the handling of this data, as Olivia Timson discusses with reference to potential solutions in this magazine.
Predictive analytics enable shops to use the wealth of data they have to make better and faster decisions, particularly around supply and demand. Retailers have to predict gaps in supply chain efficiency, supplier stability, customer churn and causes of attrition, in order to minimize risk. By using analytics to pinpoint unusual patterns in the data, they can recognize where issues may arise in the future, and attempt to mitigate against these. They can also adjust stock and storage space accordingly, helping them to cut down on costs.
The Fall is also a massive time for the ‘big event’ sales, such as Black Friday. By studying customers’ buying behaviors, predictive analytics can reveal which products have the highest margins to reduce prices on, which demographic to target, and even how to plan logistics for the actual event to avoid stampedes.
While analytics can be extremely useful to organizations, it also has its downsides, with machine learning often picking up biases that are inherent to the data they are analyzing. I explore the issue, and how it's impacting the police force, later in this magazine.
In this issue, we’ve also interviewed a number of leading data scientists, including Jonathan Morra, Director of Data Science at eHarmony, and Jules Malin, Products Analytics Manager at GoPro to get their take on the current issues around data analytics.
As always, if you have any comment on the magazine or if you want to submit an article, please contact me at