Refining your ecommerce business with big data

Retail / eCom   |   
Published November 25, 2016   |   

For the last few years, it seems like the concept of Big Data is inescapable. Wherever you look – whether it’s Forbes, Tech Republic or even Fortune – everyone has to say something about Big Data. But when you take a closer look and realize the potential of Big Data, it’s no longer hard to see why so many people are talking about it.

We’re creating more data than ever

Just look at it like this – according to the latest data from the Internet Live Statistic (which are updated in real time), there are over 3.5 billion Internet users in the world. This means that the number of users has grown almost 60% in the last five years (back in 2011, there were “only” 2.2 billion users).
Naturally, all of these users create content on a daily basis, for instance, Tubular Insights estimates that every minute, users upload more than 500 hours of footage on YouTube. And you have to admit, that is quite a lot of information. And while Big Data is used in basically in every business sector and niche, in the last couple of years, BDA (Big Data Analytics) have started to play a major role in the world of eCommerce.
We're creating more data than ever


Structured vs Unstructured Data 

So, when it comes to eCommerce, most of the data falls under two categories – it’s either structured or unstructured. Structured data is basically regular data that includes names, addresses, ages and preferences of customers. Naturally, companies are able to collect this data without much effort. Unstructured data – for instance, Facebook likes, retweets and views – is much harder to collect.
However, since it’s so much harder to obtain, unstructured data is also much more valuable, because it can give you valuable customer insights. Walmart, for instance, collects around 2.5 petabytes (or roughly 2,500,000 gigabytes) of data from customer transactions every hour, according to Harvard Business Review. But this data is also very hard to analyze, especially for small business.

Benefits of Big Data

Of course, some volumes of data require strong computers and multiple servers to process but Business Analysis no longer available only to large corporations. Fortunately, SMBs today have enough resources to leverage Big Data and use it to improve their business processes.

Knowing how consumers are accessing your website

In 2014, mobile traffic surpassed desktop for the first time in history, and when you look at the latest version of KPCB’s Mobile Tech Report, users today spend even more time on mobile devices (51% of the time) compared to a desktop (only 42% of the time). Therefore, you have to consider just how many people are using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets to access your website.
That means that you have to analyze bounce rates and conversion funnels by each device for some of the most important conversion pages on your site. So if you have, let’s say some pages have loading problems you might not think it’s a big deal but according to KissMetrics, an eCommerce site that makes $100,000 every day can potentially lose $2.5 million per year because of a 1-second page delay. Big Data can help you find about these problems, and properly optimize your website for different devices.
internet usage(Engagement) growth solidsource:

Big improvements in the Supply Chain

An average eCommerce company is usually dealing with a number of moving parts like vendors, logistics and delivery. But with the help of Big Data, you’ll be able to build more efficient systems and use advanced analytics to manage and improve your supply process. Some companies are even leveraging IoT (Internet of Things) to gather data and completely redefine their supply chain intelligence.
Conversely, you can even find a number of 3PL providers, such as Invenco, that are also using Big Data to improve their operations, process quality and their integration all across the supply chain. As a matter of fact, if you look at the latest 3PL study report, more than 86% of 3PL providers now think that effective use of data will become “a core potency” of their business in the next few years.

big improvements in the supply chainSource: Kissmetrics

Monitoring business better than ever before 

If you want to track the expenses of your company, your complete income and even Human Resources data down to the last detail, you definitely need a solid data processor like the Hadoop-based EMR. This will not only help your company improve its archiving, but it will also allow you to make more fact-based decisions that will help you successfully navigate your business in the future.
Again, let’s look at one of the more successful companies in the US – a few years ago, UPS decided to install sensors in around 46,000 of their company’s vehicles, which allowed the company to track everything from their speed to their direction at any given moment. This allowed UPS to cut more than 85 million miles off, and save around 8.4 million gallons of fuel.


When it’s all said and done, if you want to improve your company’s operations in the long run, Big Data is more than worth your time. A recent MGI study revealed that retailers that are using Big Data can potentially increase their operating margin by more than 60%. Simply put, Big Data is the future of eCommerce, and it would be smart to adopt it as soon as possible if you want to see success.