Retail Learns a Few Tricks from E-commerce – Data Digest

Today’s data digest is packed with the most fresh and popular updates from the world of data visualization. Read away!

Retail Learns a Few Tricks from E-commerce

E-commerce has covered a lot of ground in analyzing and predicting buyer intent using web analytics to track user behavior on websites. However, retail still has a long way to catch up with its online counterpart. In a recent blog post on HBR, we get a glimpse of the future of retail in the work done at Prism Skylabs. They use a retail store’s security cameras to gather location-based data on its customers, and allows the store owner to plan product placement accordingly. They have a neat dashboard, which presents data in the right context. However, the most usable visualization is the heatmap representation of customer movement across the shop, as shown below.

heatmap representation

Retailers are excited about the possibilities this kind of location analytics gives them, and look at it as a way to “move as our customers move.”

The right way to show visualizations to a CXO

This is an interesting article on how to use data visualization for C-suite executives. The advice may be open to debate, but it makes a convincing point. It says to ‘never bring a data visualization into a meeting with a top executive to summarize your findings.’ Instead it suggests ‘to just display the data and have the audience discover [insights] on their own.’ It says to have 10 minutes where everyone stares at the data and discovers their own insghts.

I wonder though if executives would have the time to spend 10 minutes staring at the data to glean insights. Wouldn’t they rather have the work done before the meeting itself, and use the meeting to discuss outcomes? Read it for yourself, and decide.

For the love of venn diagrams

Finally, here’s a venn diagram that promotes the usefulness of venn diagrams. It’s not meant to be conclusive, but does make us consider all options for presenting data, and which to use for specific purposes.

venn diagram

Alberto Cairo on Data Visualization

In his recent talk ‘It’s more complicated than that’, Alberto Cairo, author of ‘The Functional Art’ lays down some time-tested ground rules for data visualization. If you have just 5 minutes, you can head over ijnet and read the notes from the talk, but if you have some time, I highly recommend watching the video itself. Cairo is one of the influential thinkers in data visualization today, and you’ll get a lot of food for thought from his talk. Oh, and his spanish accent makes the talk even more lively.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gZDedvFidk&w=640&h=385]

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