Data is a valuable asset for businesses. It can be used to enable business processes, improve operations, and increase customer switching costs. Data alone isn’t useful; how it is leveraged is what can create a competitive advantage for a business. There are various methods used to collect data. Among these are surveys, point of sale systems (POS), and loyalty cards. Information is gathered and a company can use it to make decisions and address concerns. For this to happen data must be sorted into data warehouses and data marts so that data mining (searching for patterns, trends, and new information) can occur.
Businesses that sell directly to consumers can utilize loyalty cards to gather data. Loyalty cards are an incentive for the customers because they receive special deals and discounts. They benefit the business because, through card registration, it gains demographic information on the consumer. It also shows how often the consumer visits and spends their money. Important information can be drawn from this data, and can help shape a good business strategy. Remember: “if you don’t have data you’re guessing”.
Starbucks has a loyalty card system that’s also tied to its phone app (IT Complementarity). First you register a gift card online, which then gives you Green Card status. A Green Card gets you free refills on coffee and free flavor shots. 30 drinks later you upgrade to a Gold Card. Starbucks actually sends you a golden card with your name on it. For example mine says Briana Redzeposki, member since 2011. With the Gold Card you get all of the Green Card benefits in addition to a free Birthday drink and a free drink every 12 purchases. The app is tied to the card so that if you don’t physically have the card on you, you can scan the barcode on your phone and it will make the purchase. The app sends you messages with rewards, promotions, and free song downloads. You can refill your card with money online or have your credit card automatically add money periodically. As a customer, you get exclusivity, benefits, and convenience. As a business, Starbucks gets all of your purchase information and data. A worth while trade off for most consumers.
Data Data on my Wall, will you look at my most personal information of it all?
Facebook- Be Careful With Your Data:
Sometimes we share a little too much data with businesses. Facebook may have a little too much information on us. Facebook puts ads on our profiles based on the pages we have “liked”. It uses the information we provide on our Facebook profiles extensively. Having so much data makes Facebook very valuable and makes companies want to advertise on it. Some people have their addresses and phone numbers on their profiles. There’s a lot that people put on Facebook that they don’t realize is really public information that can be used however Facebook wants it to be. Sometimes we think our information is being used one way but it is really being used another. We have no control over how our information is being used once we give it up, and we need to be careful.
These civilians thought they were taking a survey for a store and volunteered personal information for a gift card. Instead, they got more than they baragained for: public humiliation. Turns out most people will pretend to recognize a stranger if the stranger seems convincing enough. Guard your data!