How clubs and patrons will both benefit by investing in information.

One of the hottest topics in business right now is the pending launch of the US e-commerce behemoth Amazon.  The question being asked is how will this launch impact local businesses, as customers are given a new retail choice from a company that prides itself on catalogue and delivery?

Founded in 1994 as an online bookstore, Amazon has grown to become one of the world's largest corporations, commanding a market cap of more than $US520 billion, its shares going from $1.49 to $1100 in 10 years, also catapulting founder Jeff Bezos to the world's richest person with a wealth of more than $US90bn.

It's a stunning story of growth and worth asking exactly how Amazon manged to disrupt the established retail landscape so quickly. 

While Google started as the search engine of search engines, and Facebook launched as a way of connecting university students, Amazon has always been about data and using that information to personalise your buying experience.

The first step of purchasing anything on Amazon is to log into your account.

From there the website changes the products it shows you based on previous Amazon searches, what products you have purchased from it and importantly what products other buyers with a similar lifestyle have also bought from it.

When Amazon started selling books in the 1990s, the website would suggest recommendations to you..."You like Harry Potter, you may also like Lord of the Rings", "You recently purchased the Richard Branson biography, you may also like Warren Buffett's biography." And in most cases it was spot on, with customers buying more products that were suggested.

From day one, it is the recommendation feature that has put Amazon head and shoulders above the competition.  For Amazon it's all about the data that powers this intelligence and better connects the site with its customers.

Data has been described as the new oil as companies around the world ensure they are information-rich utilising the data to help them make better business decisions.  To help do this, there are five key rules that should underpin any data strategy.  We call them "The Big V's"

THE BIG Vs FOR VICTORY

1. VOLUME

The amount of data a business has on its customers, its environment, past interactions and products.  This all helps shape better decision making.

2. VELOCITY

Capturing data quickly and making sure any response is as close to real time to enable instant decisions.

3. VARIETY

Categorisation or segmentation, which allows an organisation to take the volume of information captured and ensure it is classified into different parts, allowing the organisation to utilise there segments to target future communications and focus areas.

4. VERACITY

Making sure the information is accurate, as false details lead to incorrect targeting and assumptions.  Accuracy is key.

5. VALUE

Where a worth to the information gathered is allocated.  This can come from both the value to be created not only within the businesses, but also the value the data has for other companies when other data sets are merged to create a deeper understanding of the client.  This is where others are willing to pay to leverage that intelligence or data for their own business needs.

(SOURCE: David McGrath, ClubsNSW Chief Digital Officer, ClubLIFE December 2017)