Big Data reveled in the spotlight in 2013. From crime prevention to healthcare, seemingly every vexing large-scale problem could be solved with the flick of a switch and a prayer to the Big Data gods. Alas, 2014 will be the year when the idealism and hype of Big Data and analytics will die down as retailers start to focus in on how and where to take action.

The promised land of Big Data certainly exists, but getting there isn't as simple as pressing a button. Industries are now beginning to learn tangible strategies and best-practices on how to make Big Data benefits a reality. Accordingly, Marketing is more data driven than ever before, and analytics produced from reams of consumer data are starting to prove their worth for organizations that understand how to make the insights actionable.

2014: Big Data's Mainstream Implementation in Retail

Nearly every industry is beginning to understand that it stands to benefit from the implementation of machine-learning technologies. Retail in particular is has yet to tap the plethora of data ripe for data analysis. But unlike most of the job market, disconnects exist between retailers' demands for data analysts and available talent. There's a growing awareness of the dearth of data experts within the retail industry, something that the competitive and hyper customer-centric nature of retail has underscored over the past year.

A recent National Retail Federation report stated that there are 42 million jobs in retail but only 20 thousand of those jobs are in IT. That dramatic ratio amounts to a few high-paying IT jobs within retail, with a significant lack of retail personnel to fill those roles. That data-expert gap between the personnel and potential will change the payrolls within the retail industry as newly minted "customer experience officers" demand more data analysts to deliver the strongest personalized experience for consumers.

Expect to see companies increase their efforts to recruit data experts to fill their growing retail analytics needs.

The Death of 2013 Big Data Buzzwords

Marketing lingo like "multichannel" or "omni-channel" permeated the industry in 2013. Though marketers used these buzzwords, consumers neither knew nor cared about which "channel" in which they were interacting with a brand. In the eyes of the modern shopper, a brand and its channels are one and the same, irrespective of how the shopper chose to access a product.

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image of Dan Darnell

Dan Darnell is the vice-president of product and marketing at Baynote, a provider of personalized customer experience solutions for cross-channel retailers.

LinkedIn: Dan Darnell