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SAP unveils data as a service to generate consumer insights

SAP announced SAP Digital Consumer Insight at Sapphire 2016, a data-as-a-service product that lets users gain insight into their customers' characteristics and behavior.

Do you know who your customers are? Do you know what they looked at before they bought an item? Do you know what they were doing before they entered your store?

Answering these questions and more has been easy for online businesses, who can track a user's every click. But for traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, not so much.

Perhaps until now, however, with the release of SAP Digital Consumer Insight, a data-as-a-service product that promises to give physical businesses access to the kind of data that can help them better understand their customers and markets.

SAP unveiled the SAP Digital Consumer Insight data-as-a-service product at its Sapphire Now conference this month in Orlando.

Web marketing for retail stores

"This offering does to retail stores what Web marketing has done for websites," Jonathan Becher, SAP chief digital officer said. "On a website it's important to know how long someone stays on your site before they leave, but if you're a retailer you don't know how long they stay in your store before they leave. For a website it's important to understand the path to purchase, how many items did they look at before buying, but you don't have a way to know that in a physical store. What we've done for the first time is to take all this information that people have figured out in the digital world, and make it available to the physical world."

SAP Digital Consumer Insight works by marrying digital mobile information for time and location, Becher explained. A user enters a "point-of-interest," which is typically a retail store or entertainment or sports venue, and a time period that they are interested in finding out more about, typically one day. The mobile data accrued for that point-of-interest and at the specified time period is then made available in a report.

"We can say that there were 61% males and 39% females at that point at that time, that the average age was 39, that 20% of the people were 18 to 24, or that there were more iPhones than Android devices," Becher said. "There's a whole series of information that we have, and based on that you get an insight on who your customers really are."

Becher said that an example of this was the Super Bowl game which was held this year in Santa Clara, Calif. Most of the marketing was targeted at the areas of the two participating teams, the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. The data derived from SAP Digital Consumer Insight showed that most of the attendees were from the host area and the cities of the two teams that played, but that unexpectedly the next region that had the most attendees was Texas.

"So if you're marketing to the NFL consumer and you didn't market to Texas, which nobody did, you lost a tremendous amount of revenue," he said. "This kind of information can change the way you run your business."

Putting data to work

Brooklyn Bowl, a hip bowling and music venue with locations in Brooklyn, London and Las Vegas, is using SAP Digital Consumer Insight to understand who their patrons are and what their interests are. The information is helping Brooklyn Bowl hone its marketing and eventually may help decide where to locate new venues.

"A crowd can change from night to night. We want to be able to customize the overall experience as much as possible -- from music to menu to drink specials," Emma Matthieson, Brooklyn Bowl's director of marketing said in a press release. "SAP Digital Consumer Insight lets us see the mix of people coming in for each event. We can also tailor our advertising to bring in similar people who will love the experience."

SAP Digital Consumer Insight data as a service uses analytics, in-memory and cloud technologies, including SAP HANA and the Sybase mobile services platform, to harness mobile network data. The privacy of individual subscribers is preserved because the data is made anonymous and aggregated before it is provided. 

For now, the service is based on U.S. mobile data and customers can purchase the insights directly from the SAP Store. Additional geographies are expected to be added by the end of 2016, according to the company. Users can purchase one insight data file for $439 or a bundle of five data files for $1,429.

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