Often times when we think of big data analytics, we think about complex tech-based companies.

However, big data analytics is simply a tool to help businesses understand their customers better, improve their products and services – and ultimately to increase their revenues.

TIDE Analytics focuses on footfall trends and analytics to help companies gain better insights, and one of their main clientele are shopping malls.

In this post, we have Zi Yuan, Co-Founder of TIDE Analytics to share with us how their company work with shopping malls and significantly grow their revenue.

TIDE Analytics – Analytic dashboard for footfall traffic.

How does TIDE Analytics collect data in shopping malls?

People today carry their smartphones everywhere they go. The way we collect data is by capturing the ID from each smartphone device, detecting it based on radius signals like wifi or data.

It may sound like we’re infringing the PDPA, but TIDE does not collect personal data. What we do is we collect large amounts of data from smartphones (without identifying individual users), then using it to gain insights on the overall trends and behaviours of shoppers to a shopping mall.

The data collected will be used for analysis up to an average of 1 – 3 years, but usually, clients would only focus on the activities for up to 1 year. Plus, anything more than 3 years may not give an accurate reading as many people change their smartphones after 2 years plus.

Should businesses grow an in-house data science team, outsource to third party agencies?

This is really subjective, and it really depends on the scale of your business.

If you are just starting out, it may be too high a commitment for you to start your own in-house team. That’s where a third party data science agency would come in.

But in general, once your business starts to scale, and when your budget permits, I would recommend companies to grow their in-house team, simply because all your data collected will belong entirely to you only. Plus, you can dive into various analysis for development efforts.

Your biggest clientele is shopping malls. What are they trying to achieve with analytics?

This depends on the department we are working with. Often times, we work with the mall’s marketing team, and for a marketing team, their goals are pretty straightforward – get more footfall traffic to the mall.

When they are able to gain insights on the footfall trends and behaviors, they are able to come up with offers and initiatives to drive up the number of shoppers. And with all malls, having more traffic equals more revenue. 

Do you think Malaysian retail businesses are educated on the importance of analytics, and if it is commonly adopted?

I think it is important to accept the fact that analytics is probably not the most basic need of a business, especially during its initial stage. Rather, it is an amazing tool for bigger companies to understand their business better, gain more insights as to how their current customer pool is responding to their products and services, then strategize for growth in user acquisition and retention.

To add on that, we’ve also worked with ‘out of home’ (OOH) companies, where we installed trackers on billboards. From here, we tracked to see how many users pass by a billboard every week and what is the frequency like, e.g. how many times a single user sees the billboard in a week.

This data would be insightful for advertisers to understand if their OOH advertising strategy is working and to track brand lift.

The OOH advertising companies can then use this data to pitch the advertising spaces to brands and companies who are looking to advertise their brands. 

What do you think is the future of Store Analytics?

Currently, one major factor as to why smaller businesses do not focus on store analytics is simply because of the high costs to which would be a big burden. That’s why most companies have not adopted it yet.

But technology is moving fast and its entry cost is also becoming lower. In the near future, with smarter technologies and better utilization of AI, it will become more affordable and accessible for more companies to adopt it as a part of their business development initiative.

With companies like TIDE Analytics that helps traditional businesses like retail to grow by using big data analytics, it shows that there is a limitless possibility as to how data science can contribute to companies.

To find out in-depth as to how retail companies like shopping malls use data analytics to make data-driven decisions, join Zi Yuan in D/M Summit where he presents a workshop, to learn more.