How much do you spend on cheese every year? In Finland, Big Data will tell you


Big Data has long been defined as the new black gold, the oil of our century, since its reading, analysis and interpretation can prompt economic decisions that may affect or change corporate and business strategies. In other words, we are talking about the new, inescapable worldwide economic paradigm. An activity that has long been approved is retailers’ use of this huge amount of information to build a more exclusive and loyal relationship with customers. 

The Finnish retail giant S-Group has taken this practice to the next level: rather than just profiling and targeting customers with specific promotions on the Internet and across stores, S-Group has adopted a more open approach, creating a platform that allows customers to access and analyse their shopping history.

The online service, called MyShopping, which can be accessed by 80% of the Finnish families that have an S-Group loyalty card, does more than simply provide a list of virtual receipts; rather, it organises past purchases according to hundreds of product categories, allowing consumers to see, for example, how much they spend on cheese, vegetables or even protein shakes.

In its first week of operation this month, the service was used by almost 40,000 customers, a record figure which - as reported by Pekka Malmirae, chief customer officer at SOK Media, the corporate branch of the S-Group - many other digital services of the company were able to reach only in their first year of business. 

This interest shows that, if presented in a clear and intuitive way, the use of Big Data can help given buyers to reduce their weekly shopping, others to eat healthier and others to reduce food waste. Quite clearly, S-Group draws a huge benefit from this system: the transparent use of these data not only allows the company to build a truly loyal relationship with its customers, but it also gives it the chance to be a step ahead of its competitors, which are increasingly international, in reading consumption data and shopping trends.

The importance of data shouldn’t surprise anyone by now: in the industrial field the well-known Act on Industry 4.0 does nothing but formalize, with its provisions on super-depreciation and hyper-depreciation, the value of digitisation for the collection of data onsite and the ensuing improved control over the production process.