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  Big data is a trending topic in the business and tech world. It is said to be a powerful body of data that offers insight. In fact, leading companies like Bloomberg conduct their trading with big data as well as other big businesses. Yet many are not aware that big data can also serve small businesses as it serves big businesses. Big data can provide loads of opportunities for small businesses and startups in the world, including Nigeria. In this article, I discuss 4 practical ways small businesses can apply big data in their day-to-day activities.
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Understanding Your Customers’ Interests

With big data, you can get fuller pictures of your present and prospective customers. With big data, you can know what makes them tick, why they buy, how they prefer to shop, why they switch, what they’ll buy next, and what factors lead them to recommend a company to others. With tools like traditional data sources like sales data and customer service logs software, social media, browser logs, digital census data, text analytics, and so on, brands can get to understand their customers’ demography. With this, brands can learn to interact with customers. For example, social media provides valuable sources of data, making activities such as identifying niche markets and analyzing customer feedback much easier and cheaper.

Identifying Industry Trends

With big data, small businesses can spot and monitor buyers’ behaviour and market patterns, which can help in predicting where things are headed, how demand for products and services will change over time, and what will determine the change. In the past, businesses got views of trends through guesswork, gossip and news.
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With big data, businesses can get hints of trends on a real-time basis through topics flashing across various social media platforms. Various services provide trends in our today’s world, which include Trend Hunter and Trendera. For example, retail online and offline customer behaviour can be measured in microscopic detail.

Assessing Competitors

In time past, small businesses understood their competitors through industry gossip and surfing the websites or shops of rivals. In fact, some go as far as sending spies in the guise of customers to get crucial information from their competitors. However, in our today’s business world, without leaving your desk, through Google Trends you can get insights on the popularity of a brand or products, as well as analyse social media trends to get popularization of products, services and brands. Also, as a small business founder, you can use Twitter to gather all the information on competitors and compare them to your brand. For instance, does your competitor get more mentions on Twitter? How do their Twitter conversations with customers compare with yours?
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Improving Operations

With big data, small businesses can optimize the operations of their day-to-day operations. With tools like sensors on delivery vehicles, customer ordering systems and even the internet, small businesses can use data generated from these tools to improve their operations and generate efficiencies. For instance, retail companies can optimise their stock keeping based on predictions generated from social media data, web search trends and weather forecasts. This allows stores to stock up on the most popular items, ensuring they don’t miss out on sales and reducing the amount of unwanted stock lying around. Featured Image Source: Medium 
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This article was first published on 15th November 2022

nnaemeka-emmanuel

Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.


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