3. Retail

More than any other industry, retail has developed leading-edge analytic techniques to capture the minds and wallets of customers.

Introduction

The fundamentals of the retail industry are straightforward: Buy or make goods, place them on a shelf, and sell them at a profit. There are many types of stores that sell merchandise, including department stores like Nordstrom and Saks, large chains like Walmart and Target, warehouses like Costco and Sam’s Club, and Internet sites like Amazon.

The industry is huge and 50% larger than healthcare. Retail sales in the U.S. were about $3.8 trillion in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.1 This represented about 27% of the economy in terms of GDP. It employs more than 14 million people in ...

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