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Increasingly ‘techno-savvy’ South Africans provide major opportunities for revenue growth, says Deloitte

The explosion in the use of the Internet and social networks in South Africa is providing companies with a significant base with which to analyse consumer behaviour, profile their typical customers and then use this information to make accurate purchasing predictions and drive sales, says professional services firm Deloitte.

By analysing their basic consumer data based on purchasing and loyalty programme interactions, types of products and services purchased as well as the channels used to make purchases and linking this to the demographic information supplied about age, location, marital status and gender, an educated guess on similar types of offerings that these consumers could be interested in can be made, says Ashleigh Theophanides, Director at Deloitte.

“However, by taking things further and including data from consumer-brand interactions provided by behavioural mechanics, further detail can be derived.

This results from the increased frequency of consumer interaction, which promotes the accumulation of more data. This can then be supplemented by richer data obtained through external databases,” says Theophanides. These can include:

  • User-generated content (demographic profiles; hobbies and interests; product and service preferences);

  • Third-party data (internet usage patterns; mobile phone usage patterns; travel patterns);

  • Public data (household information; other company purchasing history and consumption patterns; hobbies and interests);

  • Personal data (financial and investment standing; websites viewed; web searches made).

“Consumers are willingly sharing information every day by uploading, using and creating content online and on mobile devices. In the process they are exponentially increasing the amount of consumer identity data available. In the USA, for instance, it is estimated that nearly half of online time is spent on three activities, namely social networking, playing games and e-mailing.

Facebook users alone share more than 30 billion pieces of content, ranging from web links, news stories, blog posts, notes and photo albums amongst other items every month. On Twitter, traffic has exceeded more than 90 million tweets a day.

South Africans have taken Facebook to heart, placing the country amongst the top 10 ‘mobile’ users of the social platform worldwide. This translates into 84% of about 5.3 million local Facebook users logging in to Facebook using a mobile device.” says Theophanides.
Social media applications like Facebook have realised the value of their information and have already incorporated analytics into their systems for displaying user preferences. These, of major interest to companies, include ‘Likes’ for products, services and websites.

As technology expands users’ options, so data available from mobile users will increase, adding to the existing pool of information that has already exceeded two Exabyte’s a month.

Companies should utilise user-generated content across platforms to understand how consumers influence each other and use the information gained to determine the role they can play in increasing revenues.

“Business needs to use their growing access to consumer information to respond to their customers’ demands for customised offerings such as Gmail, Groupon etc. They can also do much to drive revenue through behavioural mechanics by using incentive programmes that make a strong impact on consumers. These can include products such as frequent flier programmes.

All this data can be used to supplement the basic consumer data companies possess. Through analytical techniques such as cluster analysis and collaborative filtering, companies will be able to obtain a deeper understanding of their various customer segments and product or service preferences.

This provides a foundation for cross-selling or up-selling and developing strategic consumer retention strategies,” concludes Theophanides.

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