You Can’t Always Get What You Want, But If You Try Sometimes You Might Find Technology Gives You What You Need

In Huffpost Tech UK, Dmitry Bagrov, Managing Director of DataArt UK, questions the purpose of customer data analytics in retail, advocating a shift away from extrapolation of customer wants of today to understanding their needs of the future.

“Retailers naturally want to sell. That is why they exist. On the surface, the collection of data on their customers makes perfect sense: The ability to know what the people they are targeting want should dramatically improve sales.

However, there is something wrong about the basic concept of data collection that is leading retail to a dead-end and, by extension, much of technological development. If all the focus is on giving people what they want today, is there any place for innovation? In other words - looking at what they will need tomorrow. As Henry Ford said: ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.’…It is the fulfilment of need, not chasing wants that should be driving technology in this sector and all others.

Putting this kind of personal connection back in, however, does not mean retreating from technology. It means a different approach. Technology can be used to reduce us to data points, or it can be used to bring us closer to each other and as a means to actually fulfil needs all the way up Maslow’s hierarchy and even into the self-transcendence that is above it. It is a matter of choice.”

View original article here or download PDF.