Palantir Buys Fancy That, an Indication that Brick-And-Mortar Shopping Is Increasingly a Digital Game The acquisition is a bit of a departure from Palantir's focus on issues like national security and defense strategy but also a harbinger of how data analysis is changing the game for retailers.

By Catherine Clifford

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Data analytics platform Palantir is known for working on issues like national security, cybercrime prevention and military defense strategizing. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based tech company has helped coordinate disaster response after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the New Jersey Coast, it has leveraged its data analytics software to help reduce human trafficking violations, and it has partnered to help find and protect missing and exploited children.

That's why it's a bit of a change of tune to see Palantir scoop up the retail analytics company Fancy That, a tech startup that helps apparel companies better manage their inventory, customer interactions and pricing with data analytics.

Related: Lessons from a Food-Tech Startup: Big Data Isn't Just a Buzzword -- It Can Be Your Secret Weapon

But the acquisition, announced with a blog post from Fancy That, is an indication of how brick-and-mortar retail is increasingly becoming a "big data" game.

For instance, data is used to answer questions about customer behavior, to forecast inventory demand and increase consumer engagement. Where are your customers looking? What are they buying? How are they walking through your store?

Related: How This 3-D Printing Startup Is Pushing the Boundaries of the Retail Experience

Palantir already has some pretty stiff competition in efforts to overlay big data analytics onto the retail industry. For example, IBM says that it can pull information on customer behavior from social media, online shopping transactions and point of sale systems to help retailers market more effectively to specific customers, sending promotions in real-time to individual customers based on their location. Also, its "big data" analysis can help retailers become more efficient on the backend, too, helping stores anticipate demand and distribute inventory accordingly.

Terms of the Palantir deal were not released in the Fancy That blog post and an email to Palantir seeking specifics on the purchase had not been returned as of publication of this post.

Related: Why These Ecommerce Front-Runners Are Building Brick and Mortar Stores

Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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