During the information age, data has played a key role in decision making across all sectors. Predicting and ultimately managing trends has become a key business differentiator.
However, current trends are incredibly volatile, and many businesses are having to predict the unpredictable to meet and adapt to demand. On the frontline are retailers and eCommerce providers who are adapting to an unprecedented period that could last well into the later stages of 2020.
The spread of COVID-19 has triggered a surge in demand for a high number of essential items. Many of us have seen this first-hand in supermarkets where increased demand has left many key products out of stock. It has been a similar story online, with eCommerce retailers playing catch-up whilst trying to meet customer needs. Supply chains were certainly not prepared for the level of demand that occurred almost overnight. Retailers are now forced to respond to immediate consumer movements at a scale never experienced before.
So how should they adapt? The answer is both simple and easy to implement – they must collect data. We are seeing large online retailers relying on data to reach precise insights – and we expect to see this filter down to a wide-range of online retailers. When seeking clarity, data can provide retailers with real-time, almost ‘live’ business insights that clearly reflect consumer sentiments and anticipated movements from across a multitude of regions. This allows decision makers to view developments from up-close and ensure business moves are relevant.
Right now, with the unprecedented rise in eCommerce activity and within retail, purchasing of items such as hand sanitizer, cleaning products, toilet paper, soap, pasta, rice and flour have skyrocketed. Some of these items may seem like obvious products, but the rate at which they are selling and the regional locations in which they are being bought is incredibly important for retailers looking to fulfill this demand.
Businesses are currently operating in truly unpredictable times and, more than ever, data serves as the lifeblood for businesses as they adapt and provide the most necessary products to meet consumer demands. Technology continues to make this a more efficient and effective process and with automated data collection providing live, up-to-date reality snapshots, brands of all sizes and in all industries can be aware of and act on online trends.
Once businesses have navigated the unpredictable choppy waters of COVID-19, they will enter even more unchartered territory. Predicting demand as global lockdowns lift will also be difficult and won’t just be confined to retail. For example, the travel industry has been hit hard by on-going restrictions and tapping into live data will be vital to reconstructing and ramping up operations as life goes back to normal. Although no business can predict the future, having key data insights means you can be prepared for any possible development.
By Or Lenchner, CEO, Luminati Networks