Real-Time Data Streaming: The Key to Unlocking Customer Experience and Growth for Retailers

Rubal Sahni is a dynamic professional with over 15 years of experience in driving digital transformation and helping customers across industries succeed with modern technology. Responsible for driving growth in India, Rubal works with customers to help them set their data in motion and deliver incredible customer experiences required to compete in today’s digital world.

The digital economy in India is booming, and e-commerce is at the heart of it. From online retail and services to online education and entertainment, millions of Indians are embracing the convenience, choice and cost-effectiveness of shopping online. Currently, E-commerce in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.24% and reach $111.40 billion by 2025, making it one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.

Recognizing the potential and importance of e-commerce for India’s economic growth and digital transformation, the government has taken several initiatives to promote and regulate the sector. Some of these include the ONDC platform, increasing the foreign direct investment limit up to 100%, drafting a national e-commerce policy, and facilitating digital payments and e-governance.

However, operating in this fast-paced environment of innovation also creates many challenges for digital native companies that leverage technology to power their operations and business models. They face intense competition from both local and global players who are vying for the same market share and customer base. In order to thrive in the fiercely competitive landscape, digital natives, particularly e-commerce firms, must provide unique value propositions and differentiated customer experience that is tailored to the specific needs and preferences of their target segments.

But how can they achieve this?
The answer lies in leveraging data streaming. Real time data streaming is the process of capturing, processing and analysing data as soon as it is generated. For businesses, they can gain insights into customer behaviour, preferences, feedback and satisfaction, and act on these analytics instantly to optimise their offerings, operations, customer experiences and outcomes.

How real-time data impacts end users
Real-time data also enables e-commerce companies to react and respond instantaneously to their customers’ queries, improving their customer experience, as well as their conversion and retention rates. Moreover, businesses don’t have to wait weeks for the batch workflows to complete their cycle to gain insights and take actions based on their data.

These instant data insights are crucial for businesses to keep up with customer demands and expectations in the world we’re now living in.Using data streaming, businesses can bridge data silos, ensuring that the data on hand is relevant, updated and actionable for every single customer interaction.

Operating in today’s highly competitive market with growing pressure from new entrants, e-commerce companies need to gain insights into the dynamic consumer behaviour and use them to strengthen their experience, engagement and retention. They also need to understand their own products at a granular level, focus on their customers’ needs and wants, and pinpoint exactly where their cross-selling opportunities lie. This is the recipe for success.

"E-commerce businesses deal with sensitive customer information, such as personal details, payment information, purchase history and preferences."

Delivering meaningful benefits
Focusing on your customers and their needs can help you create a better and more satisfying experience for them. And using real-time data to improve your operations and efficiency can directly boost your profitability and growth. This is the power of combining customer-centricity and data-driven decision-making.

Traditional players looking to adopt technology and undertake a real business transformation need to have a holistic outlook, covering everything from infrastructure to service culture. They need to overhaul a large proportion of the core elements of their businesses.

Businesses managing this process themselves can be risky and costly. A better option is to use a fully managed data streaming service that provides governance, security, and lineage, as well as the expertise of powering market disruptors like LinkedIn, Uber and Netflix.

Besides making traditional retailers more resilient and efficient, data streaming also ensures that they have the operational flexibility to adapt to the dynamics of the global market and the situational awareness to manage the various risks that permeate all aspects of the digital economy.

E-commerce needs the right security in place
E-commerce businesses deal with sensitive customer information, such as personal details, payment information, purchase history and preferences. Any breach or misuse of this data can have serious consequences for both the customers and the businesses, such as identity theft, fraud, loss of trust and reputation, legal liabilities and penalties.

Using a data streaming provider, companies can reliably implement the right security measures and best practices to protect their data and their customers. These include:
●Encryption of the data in transit between the website and the server
●Encrypting the data at rest with Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) options, which allow e-commerce businesses to have full control over their encryption keys
●Using secure payment gateways that comply with international standards

Protecting customers is a crucial aspect of any modern business, and achieving this effectively requires harnessing the power of real-time data. By processing and analysing real-time data, businesses can swiftly detect anomalies, identify security or fraud patterns, and promptly alert the relevant departments or individuals. In some cases, real time data empowers businesses to counter-respond swiftly to ongoing attacks or breaches.

However, as we’ve discussed, the advantages of real-time data extend beyond thwarting security threats. In the face of the fourth Industrial Revolution, industries of all kinds are increasingly embracing interconnectivity, automation, and machine learning, with real-time data serving as the linchpin. These transformative technologies essentially represent dynamically adaptive algorithms, which is just another term for functioning in real time.

Nevertheless, real-time data sharing is only the beginning. Leveraging data streaming allows companies to establish new workflows and unleash their innovation potential. While it is beneficial to respect the heritage of traditional retail, it is equally imperative to look ahead and embrace the business transformation brought about by real-time data. This transition is a once-in-a-generation technological leap, encompassing a myriad of benefits including customer experience, reduced churn, lower operational costs, and improved profitability.

Real-time data is the key for companies to unlock their full potential. By breaking down data silos and embracing data streaming, businesses can not only protect their customers from security threats, but also enhance their customer experience, drive their growth, and drive innovation in their fields.