Digital Personalization

Top 7 examples of big data retail personalization

Big data is a top trending buzzword. But, unlike overused buzzwords such as ‘omnichannel marketing’ or ‘growth hacking’, big data is very underhyped. According to IBM, 62% of retailers report that the use of big data is giving them a serious competitive advantage. Knowing what your customer wants and when they want it can be available at your fingertips with big data; all you need are the right tools and processes in place to make use of it. Let’s explore 7 innovative examples of big data personalization in retail for some inspiration.

Check out our previous article to see if you’re operating in one of the ten business areas that should be using big data already.

Macy’s: The Traditional Department Store is Ahead of Its Time

This upmarket department store has a long history of providing excellent customer service and has become a household name. Despite the heritage established since the first store opened in 1858, the brand has taken to the digital age like a fish to water.

Macy’s uses big data to offer a smarter customer experience. The brand analyzes multiple data points, such as stock levels and price promotions, and combines these findings with stock keeping unit data from a product at a particular location – as well as customer data – to ascertain which products are on sale in each store. This ensures that its chosen products suit the buying habits of customers in each location.

On top of this, Macy’s collects customer data ranging from visit frequency to style preference. This data is used to personalize the customer experience, offering incentives at the point of sale with loyalty rewards and promotions. This data also enables it to send targeted direct mail to its customers to boost conversions.

Amazon’s purchase recommendation engine 


The ecommerce heavyweight Amazon has truly mastered its recommendation engine, but its functionality is actually quite simple. The algorithm is based on a user’s purchase history, the items they have in their cart already, items they have rated or liked in the past, and what other customers have viewed or purchased recently. In fact, it has been reported that over 35% of all Amazon sales are generated by the recommendation engine – a testament to the importance of product recommendations.

The primary reason for recommendation engine is to address the ‘long-tail problem’ – the fact that rare or obscure items are frequently not searched for, and therefore don’t drive revenue. By recommending long-tail items to shoppers, you can seriously drive the ROI potential of slower-moving ecommerce listings.


Kohl’s is a brand with big data plans. This brand has recently suffered a decline in sales of 2.4%, along with decreased shopper traffic, and the brand’s CEO contemplated closing around 1,100 stores. However, in a change of heart, the brand has decided to implement new technologies to streamline its shopping experience and make stores smaller. To achieve this, it has invested over $2 billion in tech and big data initiatives. Product recommendations aside, the brand is on a mission to use big data firstly for the benefit of its customers, as well as to make the stores more profitable.

The entire online and physical shopping experience is personalized, from when a visitor lands on the homepage and is faced with deals and products on every page, to personalized offers that counter shopping cart abandonment. Kohl’s also uses its big data to create tailored marketing campaigns, which have been produced with customer data in mind. The brand now plans for data science to assist merchandising allocation, including external data like macro-economic conditions and social data, which will determine which products are stocked. This will ensure that products fly off the shelves faster.

Mall of America navigator chatbots

IBM has provided the Mall of America with a chatbot named E.L.F to assist shoppers navigating the vast complex. The Mall of America is in Bloomington, Minnesota, and it is the largest shopping complex in the northern states. It plays host to 520 retailers, 50 restaurants, 14 movie theaters, 2 hotels, an indoor theme park and a museum.

E.L.F. can create personalized shopping itineraries for each customer, finding the right experience for them (dependent on their needs). The chatbot is operated by a simple interface akin to a text messaging platform. E.L.F. is available via the Facebook Messenger app, the browser page, or kiosks in the Mall of America.

Nordstrom: fusing the online and offline shopping experience

This luxury retailer has mastered harnessing big data to fuse online and offline shopping experiences. Nordstom’s marketing team tracks Pinterest pins in order to identify which products are trending, and then employs this data to promote the right products in its physical stores.

Over 30% of Nordstrom’s budget is spent on technology, having established the ‘Nordstrom Innovation Lab’ based in Seattle for product development and testing. On top of this, Nordstrom hosts interactive touchscreens in changing rooms to allow customers to order products and view stock online.


TopShop has been experimenting with new technologies to implement augmented reality into its shopping experience since 2010. Flagship stores have virtual fitting rooms where customers can select clothes to see how they would look wearing them on a screen. This saves the customer the time and effort of trying on clothes themselves.

In 2015, TopShop partnered with Twitter to analyze real time data on the social network, and identified trends as they happened during the five day London Fashion week event. These trends were grouped together on billboards using Twitter hashtags, so customers walking by would be encouraged to tweet a hashtag to their TopShop account indicating their favorite products. The fashion retailer then responded with a curated collection of the top picks.

This novel use of big data ensured that TopShop knew exactly what its customers were looking to buy following London Fashion Week.


The Swedish interior giant IKEA featured image recognition and augmented reality for the first time when it showcased its 2013 catalog. Customers could scan through the catalog with their mobile devices to highlight products they were interested in, and from this, the brand offered personalized digital content and reviews to inform their purchase. The brand also used image-recognition technology, with which customers can scan catalog items and virtually place them in their own homes to see what they would look like. They can then select the colors and sizes that work best in the space, without having to actually go to store and purchase the product. This allowed the catalog readers to make informed purchases, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and fewer returned items.

These innovative uses of big data really enhance the customer experience, and have the potential to boost your sales. You don’t have to be a big player in retail to use big data. You could use it yourself to get ahead of your competitors, particularly if you use a Shopify storefront. This platform integrates with Blendo, a big data analytics plugin. Plugins and apps can be very useful ways for you to automatically collect and pull up data from multiple sources to inform your business decisions.

How will you integrate big data into your retail business? Have any of these examples inspired you? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Peter Lonsdale 11 months ago

    I have to express my appreciation to the writer just for rescuing me from this particular difficulty. After surfing around through the world-wide-web and meeting basics which are not powerful, I figured my entire life was done. Living without the approaches to the difficulties you have sorted out all through this website is a crucial case, and ones that might have in a wrong way affected my entire career if I had not discovered your web blog. Your primary expertise and kindness in handling all the stuff was invaluable. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not come upon such a subject like this. I’m able to now look ahead to my future. Thanks very much for this high quality and effective help. I will not be reluctant to recommend the sites to anybody who will need care on this matter.

  2. go to the website 8 months ago

    I have been reading out many of your stories and i can state clever stuff. I will definitely bookmark your site.

  3. Website 8 months ago

    Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely fantastic. I really like what you have acquired here, really like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is really a tremendous site.

  4. I like what you guys are up also. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys I¡¦ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my web site 🙂

  5. Harvey Jones 7 months ago

    For me IKEA was the one most interesting. I’ve read a lot on big data and this was first time I saw someone Mention and example from IKEA.

  6. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz respond as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to find out where u got
    this from. cheers

  7. minecraft 6 months ago

    I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem.
    You are incredible! Thanks!

  8. Click Here 6 months ago

    Hi there, You have done an incredible job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this site.

  9. minecraft 6 months ago

    Your style is unique in comparison to other folks I’ve read stuff from.

    I appreciate you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just book
    mark this site.

  10. minecraft 6 months ago

    Great delivery. Solid arguments. Keep up the amazing work.

  11. minecraft 6 months ago

    These are truly impressive ideas in concerning blogging.
    You have touched some fastidious factors here.
    Any way keep up wrinting.

  12. floaten 6 months ago

    Enjoyed the post.

  13. gamefly free trial 6 months ago

    Helpful information. Lucky me I discovered your website by
    accident, and I am stunned why this twist of fate didn’t came about earlier!
    I bookmarked it.

  14. gamefly free trial 6 months ago

    We’re a gaggle of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your site provided us with useful information to work on.
    You’ve done an impressive task and our entire group will likely be thankful
    to you.

  15. g 5 months ago

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for

  16. Read More 5 months ago

    I keep listening to the news update speak about getting free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the best site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i acquire some?

  17. gamefly free trial 5 months ago

    It’s remarkable designed for me to have a web page, which is beneficial designed for
    my knowledge. thanks admin

  18. gamefly free trial 5 months ago

    If some one desires expert view about running a blog
    after that i suggest him/her to go to see this weblog,
    Keep up the pleasant work.

  19. gamefly free trial 4 months ago

    I used to be recommended this web site by means of my
    cousin. I am not sure whether this submit is written by him as no one else recognise such unique approximately my problem.
    You are wonderful! Thanks!

  20. Thanks for finally writing about >7 examples of big data retail personalization <Liked it!

  21. Enhance Lip 1 month ago

    I all the time emailed this weblog post page to all my friends, as if like to
    read it afterward my links will too.

  22. deception website 4 weeks ago

    Hi there friends, its great article about educationand entirely defined,
    keep it up all the time.

  23. esta 2 weeks ago

    I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your web site.
    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems?

    A small number of my blog visitors have complained
    about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari.
    Do you have any suggestions to help fix this issue?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like

Pin It on Pinterest