Retailers such as drugstore chain CVS are analyzing customer data to better understand clients' needs and alter their stocking habits accordingly. "The data isn't completely new, but it's taken a long time for retailers to be able to do much with it," said Matt Waller, head of the supply chain management department at the University of Arkansas. "Processing power and storage space has become so cheap that a lot more can be done, and of course there's better algorithms," Waller said.

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