Big Data in Action: 5 Real-world Examples of Small Businesses Doing It Right

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Large companies are thriving on big data. Amazon uses past purchases, likes, and comparison info to recommend future products to customers. Netflix gives subscribers additional viewing recommendations based on the ratings they submit after watching movies and shows. Twitter leverages its arsenal of user data to suggest new connections for members to follow. These global powerhouses and others have tons of data at their disposal, but contrary to popular belief, big data isn’t strictly a big business thing.

Any business that sells products or services to customers, attracts visitors to a website, and interacts with fans via social media is generating swarms of varied and valuable data on a regular basis. In this case, the size of the company is irrelevant. It’s the depth of their information that matters.

Seeing is believing, so on that note, we’d like to present five examples of small businesses putting big data to good use.

1. Streamlining Data Management

A Reuters article introduces us to a couple of small companies that are using big data to their advantage. One of the businesses mentioned is Powerhouse Factories, a branding agency with roughly 50 employees. By hooking up with Tableau, which offers software products that allow companies to easily analyze and visualize huge chunks of data, the firm was able to reveal to clients how their messages on Facebook were impacting customer engagement and sales. For Powerhouse Factories, Tableau served as a better alternative to Excel, which it previously used to manage customer data.

2. Targeting Marketing Messages

Also mentioned in that Reuters article is Farmstead Table, a relatively new restaurant in the New England area quickly building a name by serving tasty food on the farm-to-table concept. The company takes advantage of big data by using Swipley to not only process credit card payments, but track anniversaries, birthdays, favorite meals, and other customer data, which is all captured by its robust merchant platform. Thanks to Swipely, Farmstead Table can save valuable time and more importantly, target customers with relevant messages that generate repeat sales.

3. Reducing Operational Expenses

Following the food theme we meet The Spillers Group, a small business that operates three pizza shops in Dallas, Texas. Armed with a good knowledge of data analytics, the owners recognized the importance of using their data to make business decisions, but didn’t have the time to sit down and crunch all the numbers themselves. The company found a solution in Roambi, a mobile app that specializes in analytical reporting and data visualization. In the end, Roambi helped The Spillers Group make more efficient use of its data and reduce labor costs by over 10 percent .

4. Improving Customer Satisfaction

As a regional dairy store chain, Oberweis Dairy operates in a field that is just about as old school as it gets. However, even this veteran company of over 80 years grasps the importance of using modern information systems to prosper in business. Oberweis Dairy turned to state-of-the-art analytics to get a better understanding of customer needs. Using a big data product by SAS, it was able to uncover valuable insights that fueled effective cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, while helping improve customer retention and satisfaction in the process.

5. Boosting Operational Efficiency

Customer service is a make or break deal for businesses like Twiddy & Company, which manages vacation rental properties in the North Carolina area. In need of help with strategy and operational processes, the family-owned company turned to the very same tool that helped the good people at Oberweis Dairy milk their data for all its worth. By providing access to real-time insights, SAS’s analytics solution allowed Twiddy & Co. allocate resources more efficiently and in turn, better manage budgets and expenses. Additionally, the firm trimmed error-related financial losses by 15 percent.

There you have it – proof that companies in the SMB market are successfully tapping into the huge volumes of varied data at their disposal. Be on the lookout for our follow-up article that further explores some of the tools available to help organizations leverage big data on a small business budget.

Big Data in Action: 5 Real-world Examples of Small Businesses Doing It Right
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