DataRemakesRetail.docx - Top of Form January3,2010 Unboxed

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Top of Form January 3, 2010 Unboxed A Data Explosion Remakes Retailing  By  STEVE       LOHR     MOST people think of the grand challenges in computing as big science projects,  like simulating nuclear explosions or protein folding. But with the holiday  shopping season just ended, consider another: retail marketing. Retailing is emerging as a real-world incubator for testing how computer  firepower and smart software can be applied to social science — in this case, how  variables like household economics and human behavior affect shopping.  To be sure, major retailers like  Wal     -   Mart       Stores      have long been sifting through in- store sales and demographic information to aim goods at different stores and to  tightly manage supplies. But what is changing, experts say, is the rapid surge in the amount and types of  digital data that retailers can now tap, and the improved computing tools to try to  make sense of it. The data explosion spans internal sources including point-of-sale  and shipment-tracking information, as well as census data and syndicated  services. Companies also track online visitors to Web commerce sites, members of  social networks like  Facebook  and browsers using smartphones.  The better tools, they say, are ever cheaper and faster computers and so-called  business intelligence or analytic software for finding useful information and  patterns in that data.  Retailers are increasingly mining vast troves of digital information to improve the  decisions they make about pricing, shelf-stocking and product offerings. “This 
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This note was uploaded on 02/09/2011 for the course MKTG 301 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at George Mason.

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DataRemakesRetail.docx - Top of Form January3,2010 Unboxed

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