In a recent article, BuzzFeed discussed all of the things that companies know about you from online behavior. Many people might look at this information and think “Big Brother,” but in the age of exploding data, it’s actually a good thing that companies know so much about us. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Ability to customize your online experience
Think about it: how often do you search the Internet for an hour looking for one or two difficult-to-find items? How often do you forget the site on which you read this great article, but didn’t bookmark, and now you need to share it with a friend or colleague? This actually happens a lot more than you think it would. The Internet is filled with tons of information (some of which is total crap), and it can be difficult to find whatever it is you’re looking for. However, since companies are privy to information about you, sites and our entire online experience can be customized to best fit what we might want to see or what we’d like to buy. Imagine search results that returned information that you really needed; gone were the days of sifting through forums or Wiki pages looking for answers to your random questions.
2. Ability to save consumers money
Marketers can target you based on your purchase history. They can predict when you’re going to have to make a big-ticket item because they can average about how long the purchase cycle is for that product as well as when you last bought yours. Therefore, advertisers will know when you are in the market for their products. So doesn’t it make sense that they would offer you a promotional deal at this time to get you to buy from them and not a competitor? The benefit goes to the customer here, as companies strive to get you to purchase with them.
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3. Expanding customer service
Most marketers know that social and local marketing is a great place to be consumer-oriented. As more and more people take to the web to complain or praise, companies are likely to be more active online as well. This means better–and faster–customer service. They know that it matters what consumers think because consumers are online talking to each other and sharing information about companies so often. And if companies participate in social research, it’s likely that they know your opinion. It is in the company’s best interest to meet your needs quickly and turn your negative experience into a positive one.
4. Maximize efficiency with supply and demand
Not only does predictive analytics help companies make data-driven decisions, it helps consumers get what they want when they want it. In our society, there is an increasing need to have everything at our fingertips. Predictive analytics can help make it so. By improving business efficiencies and predicting trends in their industries, businesses will be able to predict the demand and fulfill the supply accurately. This means more accessibility for the consumer.
Although some feel “exposed” by the Internet’s collection of data, it can actually be looked at as a helpful tool for consumers. It brings consumers a more competitive community of companies and advertisers from which to choose, which ensures a plethora of choices. Are there other ways in which Big Data + predictive analytics can help consumers? Sound off in the comments!