BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE/ANALYTICS

Study: Withheld personal data jeopardizes customer experiences

BY CSA STAFF

Consumers in the United States are locked in a vicious circle with brands over customer experience.

While 44% are frustrated when companies fail to deliver relevant, personalized shopping experiences, nearly half (49%) are concerned about personal data privacy as they subscribe to intelligent services designed to understand and anticipate their needs, according to new research from Accenture.

Poor personalization and lack of trust cost U.S. organizations $756 billion last year, as 41% of consumers switched companies. Without deeper customer insight however, companies cannot deliver the experiences they crave.

Forty-three percent of U.S. consumers are more likely to shop with companies that always personalize experiences, as long as their trust isn’t compromised. Nearly a third (31%) said they would find great value in services that intuitively learn about their needs over time to customize product, service or content recommendations.

Nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers would use ‘smart-reordering’ services where intelligent sensors in the home pre-empt when a product, such as laundry detergent, is running low and automatically re-orders it on their behalf. Another 36% use digital assistants. While the vast majority (89%) are satisfied with the experience, 40% said it can feel slightly creepy when technology starts to correctly interpret and anticipate their needs.

Digital trust remains a critical barrier to enabling hyper-relevant experiences. Expectedly, a clear majority (92%) of U.S. consumers said that it is extremely important that companies protect the privacy of their personal information. Another 79% said it is frustrating to realize that some cannot be trusted to use it appropriately.

Forty-three percent of U.S. consumers fear intelligent new services will come to know too much about them and their family. Overall, 66% want companies to earn their trust by being more open and transparent with how their information is being used.

“Digital trust will become increasingly challenging for companies to achieve as they look to capture new categories of customer data, such as biometric, geo-location and even genomic data, in their drive for greater relevance,” Kevin Quiring, managing director, Advanced Customer Strategy North America lead, Accenture Strategy. “Customer concerns will inevitably rise, so it’s critical that companies have strong data security and privacy measures in place, they give customers full control over their data, and are transparent with how they use it.”

Hyper-relevance is the next wave of growth for companies operating in consumer industries, but it cannot be achieved without engendering digital trust. To pivot to hyper-relevance, companies should consider:

Giving customers full control over their data – As customers demand greater control over how companies use their personal information, organizations must become more transparent. Customers must be given full access to, and control over, their data which will demonstrate responsible stewardship and ethics. Furthermore, they must ensure the appropriate safeguards are in place to protect it.

Creating new customer value – Companies that distinguish themselves with hyper-relevant experiences look beyond the traditional customer journey. They prioritize areas where they can dynamically deliver something that customers value, at the right moment every time.

Investing in precise insights – Hyper-relevant companies invest in predictive analytics, collaborate with an ecosystem of partners to capture.

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BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE/ANALYTICS

Discount giant steps up cloud and AI initiatives

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart is making a bold move as it continues to seek out ways to distance itself from Amazon.

The discount giant is investing in Nvidia chips. These high-level graphical processing units (GPUs) will be the foundation of a robust cloud network where Walmart data scientists can build out AI systems, reported Geek Wire.

A project championed by Walmart’s OneOps team, which builds and maintains the company’s internal application development system, the neural network will position Walmart to leverage AI going forward. Nvidia GPUs are designed to process large amounts of data quickly. Be-sides supporting cloud services, their processing power support AI appli-cations like natural language processing, image recognition, and overall machine learning, according to Business Insider.

Amazon is already dabbling in this arena, and plans to apply AI further across its newest acquisition, Whole Foods. The natural foods grocer is already swimming in increasing volumes of shopper behavior data. This information will be applied to Amazon’s own cloud-based platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), which already leverages AI-related services, the Geek Wire report said.

Walmart has been impacted by Amazon’s cloud services first-hand. Historically, Walmart technology partners ran their applications on AWS. That was until the discount giant began warning some tech companies in June that if they want its business, they can’t run applications on Amazon’s cloud platform.

The robust GPUs are only one piece of Walmart’s cloud-based strategy. The discount giant is reportedly also building out its cloud-based data centers and licensing its services to other companies. While the data centers will be one-tenth the size of Amazon’s, Walmart expects the move to give it another way to compete against its online nemesis, Business Insider said.

Target is also making moves to distance itself from Amazon’s cloud-based services. In August, Target announced that it was scaling back its use of AWS.

The discounter plans to “aggressively” move e-commerce activities, mobile development and operations away from AWS through the end of the year and into 2018 — a plan it alluded to back in October. Microsoft Azure is one company hoping to grab Target’s cloud-based operations.

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