Once upon a time, you went to the same neighborhood bakery every time you needed bread. Even before you placed your order, the shopkeeper already had a loaf bagged and ready. As you paid, she would ask what was new with your family. She might remind you to order a cake soon so it would be ready in time for your daughter’s birthday. You appreciated the personalized service and wouldn’t think of shopping at any other bakery.
Now you buy bread at the supermarket, a big box retailer, or even online. You don’t chat with the owner, who in turn provides excellent personalized service because she knows you so well. But with the rise of big data, this sort of customer relationship is returning. While the concept remains a big buzzword for many, smart companies are investing in big data so they can provide better services for customers.
Here are five ways companies are using big data to treat customers more like individuals — and build better long-term relationships so those customers happily buy more and more.