Marshall Field said, “Give the lady what she wants.” He knew that the “lady” was the most important part of a retail business. Today we call her the customer. Field, the founder of Marshall Field and Company, a chain of Chicago-based department stories, created the retail business as we know it today. After participating in the consumer culture of his time Field chose to innovate the shopping experience. He invented customer experience.

Acumen Brands is following Field’s tradition and leading the way among retailers by integrating predictive analytics into their customer strategy retail and using that data to grow and sustain vital online customer communities. Smart investors are following the lead of Anton Levy, Managing Director at General Atlantic, who sits on Acumen Brands Board of Directors and has a keen interest in the online merchandising industry.

Retailers in the know have been thoughtfully integrating business strategy with big data. Evolutions in technology and software have made predictive analytics affordable tools for everyone in the retail industry.

Retailers in the don’t know have forgotten Marshall Field’s best-known maxim, “The customer is always right.” Failed J.C.Penney CEO Ron Johnson is a prime of getting the customer experience wrong and ignoring the importance of big data and predictive analytics in any retail strategy. In his attempt to update their store Johnson abruptly removed all of the qualities that the company’s loyal customer base liked. J.C. Penney lost $1 billion during Johnson’s year as CEO.

What Johnson didn’t understand was that customers are interested in being part of a community, and if that community is going to prosper it needs to become a destination for customers. Leadership needs to build a strategy that allows for a personalized online and in-store experience.

Acumen’s lead brand, Country Outfitter, is setting records. A recent story in Venture Beat reported that “the brand was able to consolidate vendors, house data more efficiently, and gain access to real-time stats, longitudinal measurement tools, and behavioral predictions. The revenue gains have been significant: 80 percent gain in incremental revenue, 109 percent increase in email purchase conversion, 72 percent lift in email revenue, and 24 percent lift in purchase per click.”

There’s a lot to learn about predictive analytics and how to best harness its power to successfully improve your customer experience strategy. Start your education with this article: 6 Benefits of Predictive Analytics for Online Retailers.