Mining for gold with "small data"

They say the devil is in the details, and that’s especially true when it comes to loyalty programs. Loyalty programs often rely heavily on capturing transactional data that they miss vital insight that can only come from personal interactions with their customers.

Those little snippets of information gathered from one-on-one exchanges can be considered “small data”.  Brands can use this information to personalize every future interaction, creating a bond with customers every step of the way.

So, other than snippets of information, what else do we consider small data? Small data is a single piece of customer-specific information that provides a greater context for a brand to use in personalizing their communication. Using this information can help brands develop deep relationships by focusing on customer wants and needs.

Amazon is brilliant when it comes to collecting and using small data. The online retailer uses a product recommendation feature to spark interest and remain relevant to the customer. bases its “People who bought this also bought this” recommendations on related customer purchases.

By parsing a sea of data on its customers, delivers truly relevant information to shoppers at the precise time when they’re ready to make a purchase. It’s like a friend making a personal recommendation when you’re shopping.

Amazon leverages small data by collecting information about a customers’ browsing history to provide recommendations with its “You may also be interested in…” prompt. This tool cuts down on the amount of time customers may need to spend browsing for what they want, while increasing the chance of converting browsing behavior to an additional purchase.

I like to think of small data as the relationship equivalent to active listening. When a brand ‘hears’ the customer, that shared information becomes focused and contextualized to create a deeper relationship through understanding and insight.