Retailers are investing in technology, including data and analytics providers, and acquiring companies in those fields through M&A, as we discover in the sixth part of Mergers & Acquistions’ 7-part series, Retail Tech M&A. Here's our look at data and analytics: Consumers are becoming more demanding and more specific in their tastes. Retailers of all kinds are under pressure to get a better grasp of shopper behavior, so they can tailor their marketing strategies and inventories to meet evolving consumer needs.

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s Cos. (NYSE: LOW) has acquired the retail analytics suite of products and services from Boomerang Commerce. Boomerang’s technology offers retail analytics services that processes product and pricing datasets and converts them into insights. The acquisition is designed to assist Lowe’s in modernizing and digitizing the company’s approach to pricing.

“One of the key components of our transformation here at Lowe’s is to modernize our technology,” says Lowe’s chief information officer Seemantini Godbole. “Pricing and assortment planning have been identified as strategic areas in need of modernization. And when we find the right assets available to buy and advance our strategy, we’ll do that.”

Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) has acquired predictive analytics and demand sensing firm Celect. The deal is part of Nike’s consumer direct strategy that is aimed at improving its personal customer service. Celect, founded in 2013, offers cloud-based analytics that helps retailers manage their inventory based on local demand predictions.

“As demand for our product grows, we must be insight-driven, data optimized and hyper-focused on consumer behavior,” says Nike chief operating officer Eric Sprunk. “This is how we serve consumers more personally at scale.”

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) is buying customer experience management company Cloudcherry. The target’s predictive analytics helps contact-center agents improve service by showing them when cross-selling and discounts will best meet customer needs and increase loyalty.

Cloudcherry’s software uses data from records and transactions to help contact center agents “close the feedback loop,” says Vasili Triant, vice president and general manager of Cisco contact center solutions. “This is the next step in realizing our vision for cognitive collaboration in the contact center, enabling the delivery of the best, most personalized customer experiences.”

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, all eyes are on the retail industry, which is undergoing transformational changes. Mergers & Acquisitions' series examines the impact of 7 technologies on M&A in the retail sector. Read the whole series:

Retail Tech M&A #1: Nike, McDonald's, PayPal, add customization, IoT
Retail Tech M&A #2: Why Walmart and other retailers are buying artificial intelligence startups
Retail Tech M&A #3: Amazon leads race to build fulfillment centers
Retail Tech M&A #4: Do robots fill orders faster?
Retail Tech M&A #5: Voice recognition gives retailers more ways to communicate
Retail Tech M&A #6: Data improves customer service
Retail Tech M&A #7: Demand for convenience drives growth in mobile ordering

We'll continue watching how these technologies and trends play out in the M&A in the new year.