Pretend you’re an illegal arms dealer. And if you really are an arms dealer, I mean absolutely no offense. None taken? Good.
Business is booming (ha!). You have a steady stream of orders from your customers, and against the advice of your chief henchman you have been keeping careful records of every sale (apparently he’s concerned about something called “evidence”). As a result, you know which customers have ordered what items over a three-year period, and now it’s time to put that data to work to improve the business. But how?
You’re a pretty good salesman and you know that customers who order AR15’s will also need .223 ammunition, so you are always careful to recommend those bullets as an upsell. But what other things might go together?
You look at all the sales in which AK47s were a major item, and you are not surprised to find that customers also ordered 30-round magazines and 7.62mm ammunition but whoa, what’s this? Sixteen out of twenty orders also included RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades)!!
Spying an opportunity, you call the four customers who didn’t order RPGs and two of them respond to you (in a thick accent you always find a little creepy) “Excellent. I’ll take 24 crates.” Congratulations, you just made an additional two million Euros because of market basket analysis.
After applying this technique to the rest of your transactional data, your business really takes off and attracts the attention of a certain cartel. Oops, gotta go…