Predicting the future demand, or in marketing terms, forecasting is one of the pressing points for a marketer. Before the advent of Big Data analysis or analytics, forecasting used to be a very cumbersome process. It used to eat up a huge amount of time and resources of the marketer. But now with the information flow parallel and really, real-time this headache has turned down a bit. To understand this better let us take an example of a simple process such as a gas cylinders booking through the eyes of a customer as well as through the eyes of a gas cylinders distributor.
It is not very far back in the past when we used to stand in long queues for booking a cooking gas refill. Then wait for it for days as the delivery time was a huge variable. Now, gone are the days of queues, the days of visiting the delivery agent, the nuisance of rendering the exact balance, gone are the days when we needed to take off from work to book a simple refill. Now, everything can be executed on your palm with just one click. So, if we analyze this change carefully, we can see that the change in the delivery or the payment mode has been brought about due to the digital revolution. The flow of data through the system is smooth and feeds the desired data to the customer, allowing him to book, pay and track the order as per his convenience and will.
Now, if we try to analyze this from the distributors’ point of view we can observe the business impact the digital revolution has brought about. Earlier the distributor used to formulate his inventory by forecasting historic data with the in-built error the forecasting contains. He struggles to minimize his warehouse cost and the delay in delivery time (which in turn makes him lose customers). It is rare for him to analyze any data as there weren’t any. He used to play blind on many fields and that used to reflect on the delivery time. But with the advent of the digital era, the data flow improved and in the present times with Big Data Analytics the analyses of the data have gone up multifold. Now as soon as the customer hits the book icon for the refilling of a gas cylinder the data in real-time percolates through the distributors to the manufacturing company. Instantaneously a loop gets created that keeps the producer, distributor, and the end customer in one single loop. The data flow that creates the information flow for the information of the customer is used by the distributor and the manufacturer to regulate their operations and logistics. This helps them to analyze their stocks and forecast the inventory with more precision. Hence this gives the solutions at both ends.
The digital era has ushered in the perfect tools like big data analytics and real-time information flow for marketers and customers alike and has made life easy at all fronts for both.