Big DataThe retail industry isn’t a newbie when it comes to leveraging the power of information technology. Ever since a packet of Wrigley’s chewing gum became the first item to be scanned using a Universal Product Code in 1974 in Ohio, point-of-sale transactional data has become an asset to retailers across the globe. Today, big data technology helps retailers collect information about customers and their purchasing habits, and these are not just sourced from this POS data but from the entire digital universe – including online transactions, text messages, social networks, RFID sensors, GPS signals from cell phones and much more. Big data analytics is aided by the fact that smartphones and other mobile devices now provide enormous streams of data tied to people, activities, and locations. As a result, structured data is giving way to unstructured and streaming data. The more granular customer data becomes, the more retailers can improve activities like merchandizing and marketing using retail big data.