A look under the bonnet All online dating services are underpinned by data, with the most accurate matchmaking sites are managing and organising that data using a special back-end technology called a ‘graph database’.
Graph databases differ from relational databases – which supply the majority of business databases – in that they specialise in identifying relationships between multiple data points.
Think, who are they connected to, and which customers are most likely to speak about a brand and recommend services to others – all important business questions graph databases can easily help you answer.
They do this by putting user profiles, preferences, interactions and connections at the centre of the system’s algorithms.
That means the most compatible candidates are quickly tagged without having to scroll through thousands of potential profiles.
US retail giant Walmart, for example, is using the technology to exploit data gleaned from customer purchases at its bricks and mortar and online stores to better gauge customer preferences, for example.
But for all sorts of retail firms, the message is clear: graph databases can now put data in a more intelligent context, which enables retailers to have a clearer picture of how a new product has performed on the shelves for example, or get a better sense of what consumers want and at what price points.
Basically, it’s one thing to analyse online transactions as a series of tables or isolated business tables – but if you can look at them as a graph, they can start to perform sophisticated personal recommendations on the fly, quickly and efficiently. While the likes of Google built their technology from the ground up, graph tools and techniques are now widely available.
Graph databases literally have the power to match prospective customers with products and services that have direct appeal to them, much like having a personalised shopper – only online. That means businesses, even SMEs, can now use off-the-shelf graph databases to exploit real-time recommendations to influence and get closer to their customers.
As a sort of official mark of online dating’s going mainstream, the government stats body, the National Office of Statistics, now includes subscription to such a service in its on-going ‘shopping basket’ to calculate national monthly inflation.
The online dating proposition is successful – but also very simple.
That matters, as in the future, retailers will need not only to understand a customer’s past purchases but be able to instantly combine that knowledge with the latest interest shown during the customer’s current visit, as well as in their social media activity, and interrogate this data at lightning speed to serve up uncannily relevant and tailored recommendations and offers. Using powerful, proven techniques like graph databases make you into a leader, not a follower – plus help you win customers’ hearts by providing the best match for their desires.