“In a rapidly advancing market, data needs to be your reliable ‘go to’ adviser” – says Or Lenchner, CEO of Luminati Networks. We spoke to Or to find out more about the company and their use of data.
Can you provide a summary of what you’re doing at Luminati and why it’s important?
Luminati Networks is a leading data collection automation company that helps businesses and organisations of all sizes gather openly available online data in an ethical manner. We provide companies with a transparent view of the internet from wherever they are based in the world.
This transparent view lets us offer our customers the ability to see the web through the eyes of their current and potential customers. By using our products and services, organisations can gain an accurate perspective of how their own customers are interacting with their brand and competitors’ brands online. Ultimately, we enable organisations to make better, more informed, and faster decisions based on live competitive intelligence.
To put it in real-life terms: Imagine you’re buying a shirt from your favourite e-commerce brand. It’s highly likely that, in order to design the most attractive shirt and set the most attractive price for that particular shirt, the brand used Luminati’s vast data collection platform. It’s the same for when you’re booking a hotel room online. Chances are that the prices being displayed on that specific site were determined by extensive market research that the site conducted by leveraging Luminati’s data collection solutions.
We believe that transparency leads to open competition, and open competition benefits the entire market. Just imagine a world with no competition and you will get your answer as to why net transparency is so important. We also believe transparency drives creativity, innovation, and pushes the market forward much faster than ever expected.
How do consumers benefit from their trusted retailers using data collection automation (DCA)?
As a consumer myself, I would like to make sure that I get the best quality product or offer at the best possible price. Data collection offers retailers of all sizes the ability to ‘listen’ closely to their market, size-up competitors and offer the best products or services with the most attractive pricing strategy, suitable to that actual moment. This way you ensure that your competitors are not winning over the hearts of your consumers. With data collection, you can also get a precise idea of what your customers are expecting from you by, for example, monitoring their public social media postings, and online reviews or postings.
Dynamic pricing and market research are very popular use cases in the retail world and have recently become even more relevant due to social distancing, which has driven e-commerce 10 years forward, in only a few months. The world of online retail has been rapidly advancing at a rate none of us expected. According to recent research, 80% of e-commerce customers say that they will continue using e-commerce as their main shopping channel even after social distancing restrictions are lifted.
This is why all online retailers must tap into the power of online data right away. This is currently the only source of data that is rapid and agile enough to provide a live snapshot of consumer and market reality.
What is your best advice for businesses that want to generate actionable business insights through data collection?
Naturally, I would advise them not to wait. In this unexpected market, the sooner you get your hands on the right kind of data stream the sooner you can make the right kind of decisions that will benefit your business in the long run.
Also make sure you define your data needs correctly and partner with an operation that will focus on fast data delivery that is accurate and of high quality. You want to make sure that when you’re faced with multiple challenges and market needs, you are able to see the full picture of your business reality and do not miss any detail. I suggest starting with identifying the biggest current problem the business is facing, understand what data is missing to solve the issue and start collecting only this very focused data set.
Last but not least, I would advise businesses to refrain from building their own data collection operation and, instead, connect with an automated solution that can save you a lot of cost while providing excellent results at a much higher frequency. From my experience, and after talking to multiple customers, the automated solution comes at a much lower cost than if you were to create your own operation and deliver much better results. As a whole, it offers you peace of mind, which is very attractive to businesses these days.
Why are organisations in finance increasingly looking towards alternative data for insights
To make the best investment choices, banks, investment houses, and other financial institutions need the most up-to-date and accurate sense of the market landscape in which they’re operating. This is especially true for investors in today’s economy, which has been ravaged by recent lockdowns and social distancing guidelines. Sales plans and revenue projections made at the beginning of the year have been thrown out the window, as businesses pivot to try and make ground where they can.
Traditionally, investors and financial institutions have leveraged the data that’s readily available to them when making their investment decisions. This can come in the form of quarterly or monthly reports published by companies outlining growth, revenue earnings, and loss. It also includes a market outlook for the upcoming timeframe, be it months, quarters, or years.
However, these aren’t normal times. While company reports are usually helpful, they were created in a pre-pandemic world. Therefore, they’re no longer relevant for today’s market realities, thus rendering them useless to investors looking to get a leg up. This is why finding and using alternative or external datasets is more critical than ever before for financial institutions.
Alternative data comes from a wide variety of publicly available sources, such as social media activity, online reviews, or data on mobile spending trends. Because this is real-time information gathered ‘live’ it paints a much more up-to-date and accurate picture for financial professionals to base decisions on regarding investment opportunities and loan evaluations.
For example, if a retailer has not released a quarterly earnings statement since before the pandemic hit, online data collection can be used to measure the level of activity on the website in the past few months, along with measuring the sentiment of reviews left by consumers. This type of data can give an investor the insights they need to inform projections and help develop an investment plan for their clients.
Alternative data can help banks, too, when it comes to lending and assessing risk. Data collected from public sources, like social media pages and credit card usage, can help paint a picture of who the bank is lending to, beyond just the customer’s credit score. This is crucial for banks right now, as many consumers have also taken an economic hit and are taking out personal loans to help tide them over.