Data Scientist is the top job according to Glassdoor, largely driven by demand from consumer goods companies. Having a handle on data has become a requirement to compete in the modern retail space. New challengers are emerging that utilise highly digitalised business models and capture data from their inception.

The consumer goods market is currently being driven by data collection made possible by digitalisation. But according to Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Smoothies, the multitude of digital channels can be a distraction. To support this, he pointed to the fact that Innocent was consistently recognised for their cutting edge social media presence but never their sales.

(Note: Digital culture is changing the way retailers need to operate – Building the Digital Experience)

Innocent had the strongest social brand in the UK,” Reed said. “We were brilliant at social media and engaging without customers. Over a five-year period, we just got better and better. At the same time, our sales went down and down.”

Focusing on utilisation of data for a business end, such as driving growth, is key. Innocent Smoothies saw sales peak in summer but would often experience troughs in winter. “We ran an advertising campaign in the summer for Juicy Water where our adverts would run every time the temperature went over 24 degrees. That’s when our sales would spike because people got thirsty,” says Reed.

The ability to use data to drive meaningful action is a large part of why data scientists are in high demand. Discovering when and where people are thirsty, then advertising to those customers has a much higher ROI than just gathering Facebook likes.

Let’s take a look at some noteworthy start-ups in attendance at London’s new start-up initiativeUpscale (which has previously seen Skype’s founder offering to help the City’s up and comers)

  • Pact Coffee: delivers freshly roasted coffee by post – shipping the coffee within 7 days of roasting
  • Snap Fashion: leads consumers to exactly what they want to buy online through visual search
  • Thread: helps men dress well using a combination of human stylists and machine learning algorithms
  • Bloom & Wild: a mobile flower app with London same day delivery (aiming to challenge the likes of InterFlora)

Learn More:

Building the Digital Experience

Skype founder on speed dial for start-ups as part of new Tech-City initiative

Blooming good deal for digital florist Bloom & Wild

Start-up advice from Innocent and Skype founders

Data Scientist Tops Best Job List

Coca-cola takes full control of Innocent