Australia's ANZ has launched an online tool that uses aggregated data from merchant point-of-sale transactions to give business customers sales and behavioural insights.
ANZ Business Insights lets registered small business customers view broad comparative benchmark data for similar firms in their local area across common industry categories including food, clothing, consumer goods, travel and hairdressing.
The bank says the information, gathered from merchant Eftpos transaction data, can be used to find out about local sales patterns, market share and turnover while providing insights into customer behaviour.
The free online tool is initially available as a pilot to ANZ small business customers in Victoria, with a nationwide roll-out planned to go ahead within months.
ANZ Nick Reade, GM, small business, ANZ, says: "Getting meaningful local data is a challenge for small business owners. Short of sitting in a competitor's shop and watching passing trade there are limited resources small businesses can use to benchmark performance. We expect ANZ Business Insights will be an invaluable tool for ANZ Small Business customers."
Finextra verdict ANZ is not alone in mining this kind of data. Credit card schemes and personal financial planning companies like Mint are early adopters of a new number-crunching game that is expected to become a big business in its own right over the coming years. Customers may balk at the idea, but their aggregated sales data can provide rich insights into future consumer spending and behavioural patterns. Expect to see more banks following ANZ's lead in the very near future.