Wharton Customer Analytics

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Datathon Challenge: How to Boost Sales for a Global Retailer

Every time you take advantage of a discount, join a store’s loyalty program, or simply buy something online — whether it’s a bag of groceries, a toddler sun hat or a shaving kit — you’re telling a retailer something about your needs, preferences and buying habits. Billions of pieces of information are continually being generated. How do companies make sense of it all to gain a competitive edge? That, of course, is where data analytics comes in.

The global big data analytics market for retail was estimated at $3.4 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach nearly $11 billion by 2024, according to a report in Business Wire. The report noted that data analytics is being used at every stage of the retail process to understand customer behavior, predict demand and optimize pricing.

Recently, a group of Wharton and University of Pennsylvania students were invited to try their hand at a real-world data analytics challenge. They were given customer transaction data from an international consumer brand and tasked with finding innovative ways to help the company improve its gross margins. The virtual event, a Datathon run by Wharton Customer Analytics, was sponsored by Baring Private Equity Asia.