Data shortage for retailers after the pandemic
Once lockdown began in March, like many other business sectors, retail suffered a huge drop in sales. Subsequently, the change in customer behavior has had severe repercussions on the data retailers usually obtain.
What this change means is that many stores - independent or chain, actual, physical or (buying things online), startup or (something given to future people) - are now facing an information shortage. That's what happens when the data and intelligence came/coming from customer transactions becomes rare/not enough or unusable due to a sudden change in buyer behavior. Today the problem is (existing all over a large area): Even businesses that had collected great books/large amounts of customer data before Covid-19 are finding themselves in the same cold-start position as businesses traveling into unknown markets or reaching out to new audiences.
The effects of this disruption could be huge in the mid- to long term, because it obviously makes customer behavior more challenging to understand/explain, to (describe a possible future event), and to the pattern. In the current big picture, this much is clear: Businesses should not take as something that will never go away that the data they gathered before Covid-19 will (in a way that's close to the truth or true number) (describe a possible future event) buyer behavior in the socially distant (process of people making, selling, and buying things).
From the Business Harvard Review, here are some ideas available to retailers to get in front of the information deficit problem.
- Stand up new channels of communication and data collection with the guiding question, “What are we building with our customers while we can’t build revenue?” With thoughtful communication, companies can gain customer respect for their resilience and generate useful data. Learn which messages resonate, what products customers still consider essential, and how much appetite they have for socially distant shopping. Business opportunities lie in the nuances of these data points from individual to individual.
- Even if stores are closed, or sales are depressed, leverage “Covid-19–aware” data sources that are capturing consumer behavior indicators. This will help you begin characterizing new preferences and purchasing patterns. For instance, there is valuable information to be gained from analyzing email interactions, customer-care call logs, website sessions, and social-media data. As a proxy, study sales data from 2008 and 2009 to understand how customer behavior changes during times of economic hardship.
- Revisit revenue projections to account for the new constraints imposed on shopping due to Covid-19. Incorporating this information into analyses will support updates to purchasing, staffing, and other important cash-flow decisions. Some variables to consider include historic data about customer traffic, the size of a store in square feet, and adjustment factors to account for a depressed economy.
- If stores are located in multiple states, use spatial analysis in conjunction with relevant Covid-19 health ordinances and regulations to analyze where it makes the most sense to focus attention upon reopening. Not all state and local economies will reopen to the same degree, and those constraints need to be considered along with more-traditional inputs such as customer demographics, human mobility, and historic store performance.
- Take this opportunity to give attention to the infrastructure supporting key data assets. This might involve the following: redesigning approaches to data collection and storage such that newly relevant data can be quickly mined for insights; creating or reengineering predictive models using more-focused data sets; fixing glitches in website analytics and tagging practices that hinder the ability to draw accurate conclusions from website data; revisiting key performance indicators and scrutinizing each formula’s variables. This will ensure that prior assumptions are still applicable and not artificially skewing KPIs.
Covid-19 will eventually fade away, but that does not mean business decision-making should resume its prior incarnation. Data and quality analysis will remain essential instruments for making wise decisions about customers. Retailers that can harness data quickly and smartly will maintain their business and a competitive advantage in the long run.
Instead, stores must take careful stock of the data inputs and (related to careful studying or deep thinking) ideas (you think are true) that now drive their products and business decision-making. They must identify the risks of carrying on with the way things are working now, and they must respond to the challenges of the moment with (ability to create interesting new things) and the invention of new things. This (re-adjusting of something so it's right) exercise will help stores quickly figure out how to stay (clearly connected or related) as American people (who use a product or service) change.
GTR and SEGRO agree first UK data centre facility
SEGRO, a property investment and development company, has announced it has come to an agreement with the European data centre platform, Global Technical Realty (GTR) to construct its first UK-based data centre. SEGRO claims that the facility, which will span a total area of 400,711 sq ft, will be located in Slough and is to become “the largest data centre campus in the UK’s premier data centre and communications hub”.
What will SEGRO’s data centre facility be used for?
Supported by the global investment firm KKR, Global Technical Realty says it will be using the facility’s space on a 25-year term to operate bespoke data centres for high-growth global technology companies. The new facility aims to support the growing demand for third-party data centre provision amid ever-increasing growth in data usage and cloud services adoption.
Franek Sodzawiczny, CEO & Founder of GTR, said: “We are excited to be back in the UK alongside our partner KKR and look forward to working closely with SEGRO to deliver this state-of-the-art data centre campus. The data centre space is a fast-moving one. GTR was established to support its customers in providing a data centre solution wherever in the world there is a demand for it. We are delighted that the UK will become home to our flagship concept”.
James Craddock, Managing Director, Thames Valley at SEGRO, said: “We’re pleased to welcome GTR as the latest data centre operator to our thriving estate and our team of experts look forward to developing a stunning new facility for them and their customers. “Homeworking, data streaming, e-commerce and businesses’ reliance on cloud services have all grown during the pandemic, meaning demand for data centres is unabated.
“Slough Trading Estate is home to Europe’s largest data centre cluster and data centres are increasingly regarded as part of our key national infrastructure given the critical role they play in our daily lives”, he added.
The facility is expected to be delivered in two phases with operations beginning by Q4 of next year. The first phase plans to provide 132,575 sq ft of space phase two will create 268,136 sq ft of space. “Vacant possession of the site delivered to the customer by early 2022”, SEGRO said.
The project is also expected to create around 200 jobs during its construction, and a further 80 permanent roles once completed.