How to understand your customers smartly
By Sean Soohwan Jeong
The number of smartphone users has topped 25 million in South Korea at the end of 2011, which is nearly half that of total mobile phone subscribers. The rapid increase of smartphone usage has changed the traditional pattern of shopping. With their smartphones, shoppers have become more active in online shopping than when they used PCs from the late 90s to the early 2000 when internet shopping gained popularity.
According to the survey firm Nielson, a growing number of smartphone owners are using their devices for shopping with multiple purposes ranging from searching products to comparing prices, finding retail locations and redeeming coupons. And lots of mobile commerce applications and mobile-optimized websites are encouraging smartphone users to get involved with mobile commerce activities.
This social phenomenon has a direct influence on companies. The first big change for these companies was the size of information they have to deal with. Normally companies could be successful in retaining their loyal customers by providing the right product tailored for them.
However, the situation has changed dramatically since the introduction of smartphones. Customers’ requirements have become both varied and specific. Companies cannot simply ignore customer information related to smarphone use. With clear benefits of smartphone ― ultimate portability and network accessibility ― firms can gather information via lots of channels in real time regardless of whether they want or not.
Now companies are facing a challenge of how to handle excess amount of information. They need to find the most effective way to analyse such data and turn them into useful ones because failing to understand customer information will lead them into losing ground in competition with their rivals and eventually losing customers.
A large amount of raw data regarding customer information itself does not help companies understand customers. Companies should be able to use and apply them to enhance their services and products to meet what their customers want.
Sean Soohwan Jeong is a Director of Strategy & Operations group at Deloitte Consulting