Despite ever-growing announcements of store-closings and retail layoffs, there’s one retail job that is still in high demand: data scientist.
With the explosion of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar stores are facing increased pressure to deliver an exceptional shopping experience to their customers; they have to find new ways to compete.
U.S. consumers still make about 85% of their purchases at physical stores, but with tougher competition, retailers and brands need an edge when it comes to nudging consumers toward a purchasing decision. That’s where the data comes in.
Retailers have traditionally made pricing, inventory and placement decisions based on the experience and intuition of their managers. But now data can answer those questions for you with more accuracy, without bias and in less time.
“Data is your friend,” said Jay Samit, a vice chairman at technology consulting firm Deloitte Digital. “Data has no ego. Data will never steer you wrong.”
According to a recent article on Bloomberg.com, major retailers like WalMart and Macy’s are ramping up their use of data and expanding their data teams.
“Five years ago, if you were to say there was a team of Ph.D. data scientists at Macy’s that are thinking about our most strategic problems, people would have thought you are crazy,” explained Chief Strategy Innovation Officer Justin MacFarlane at an investor meeting in June.
But the team has come together “very, very quickly,” MacFarlane said. “And the real power of data and data analytics is focusing those resources and that talent on the core business.”