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Article: Five trends in retail data insights for 2023 and beyond

As companies rely more on retail data insights, it will become more important for them to keep up with the evolution of the insights industry. Big data has been around for decades. It has proven to be dynamic–a fact that is only exacerbated as smart devices get even smarter. In a world where customers expect to get almost anything delivered anytime, anywhere, the retail industry needs reliable data for personalization and predictive analytics to assure customers of a better retail experience. As companies rely more on data, it will become more important for them to keep up with its evolution. In the latest Data and AI Leadership Executive Survey commissioned by NewVantage Partners, analysts have reported that 97% of organizations are investing in data initiatives and 92% of those organizations reported measurable business benefits this year, up from just 48% in 2017.

Referring to the structured and unstructured information created and collected from a wide variety of sources, big data has become increasingly important in understanding human behavior, driving business strategy, and finding potential bottlenecks. Despite the value data can deliver, only 26.5% of corporations report having established a data-driven organization. It was not too long ago that the main goal of big data was to store information. Now, we have the power to unlock insights to identify trends and patterns, pinpoint inefficiencies, and increase customer satisfaction.

In the next year, we anticipate several macro changes to impact the accessibility, usage, and prioritization of big data. So, what will the future of data look like? Based on my industry experience, I believe there are five key areas that will shape the retail industry and how we serve customers in 2023 and beyond.

Accelerated artificial intelligence

Recently, we have seen growth in data accessibility, the advancement of computing power, and the increase of storage capacity abet in the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI). This uptake is expected to continue rapidly as businesses adopt AI-powered solutions at an unprecedented rate. This is due to the growing maturity of AI technology, which has reached the point where it can be trusted to solve business problems with precision. AI technology has helped to improve consumer experience by reducing friction across multiple data sources. It is expected that AI will have an increasing impact on society and continue to shape the future of data.

Growth of the metaverse

With online interactions and augmented reality becoming the new normal, the metaverse and other forms of virtual reality (VR) are expected to grow exponentially over the next few years. According to Bloomberg, the global metaverse revenue opportunity is expected to approach $800 billion in 2024, compared to about $500 billion in 2020. As more users continue to leverage metaverse applications like Roblox, Fortnite, and Pokémon Go for connection and entertainment, it will increase the amount of data available to be analyzed and used by businesses to make strategic decisions. This rapid growth will create yet another touchpoint for brands to interact with customers and create potential marketing opportunities.

5G is going mainstream

5G, also known as 5th generation mobile network, is changing how the world connects and communicates. This new generation of mobile connectivity will help usher in new data collection and analysis opportunities. The faster speeds, superior reliability, and negligible latency of 5G are better enabling near real-time data collection and insight analysis. It can also speed up how data can be collected, accessed, and used to make everyday life conveniences such as safer transportation, remote healthcare, precision agriculture, digitized logistics—and more—a reality.

Heightened consumer data regulations and compliance

The data compliance landscape is in a constant state of flux, and today's consumers are demanding more control and privacy when it comes to their personal information. There is a vast amount of data collected from consumer’s phones, computers, cars, wallets and in their homes, which leaves the infinite task of preventing data breaches while complying with ever-changing federal and local regulations. Businesses will need to invest in technology solutions that automate and simplify compliance with regulations. This will require new applications that support the entire data privacy lifecycle: from understanding how PII (Personally Identifiable Information) is stored and accessed across the enterprise to tracking compliance with regulatory requirements such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Protection Act). There is no single right answer when it comes to data compliance. However, understanding how privacy regulations will change in the next several years is critical to staying compliant and driving smarter decisions on business policy and procedure.

Movement toward hybrid cloud and edge computing

As companies become more dependent on data and cloud systems, there is a growing need to protect the privacy of data sources, especially from first-party contributors. Edge computing and hybrid clouds have become two of the most promising technologies on the horizon and will become increasingly important in the coming years as businesses look for ways to protect their data. Hybrid clouds refer to data stored both on and off premises, while edge computing is the processing of data at or near the location of collection, which allows for faster and safer processing without an internet connection.

Retailers are starting to realize that the data they collect is not just a commodity—it's a valuable asset. The retail industry is evolving, and it's not only about selling products anymore but also creating experiences and delivering on the needs of customers – whatever and wherever they may be. As retailers seek new ways to connect with their customers, the goal continues to be pinpointing what makes them tick, so that retailers can provide more personalized experiences for each customer. And, data is at the center of it all.

In the future, data will be even bigger and more complex than it is today. The five trends highlighted above–artificial intelligence, metaverse, 5G networks, consumer data compliance, and edge computing–will all have a significant impact on how we collect, store, analyze and apply data in retail. It pays to be data-driven and with each of these trends, it presents new opportunities for companies to stay ahead of the competitive curve as the landscape continues to accelerate due to innovation.