Most software solutions aren’t up to the challenge of making use of rich e-commerce data, solving new problems for businesses as they grow, or consuming more types of data over time. But, instead of viewing these challenges as problems, why not see them as opportunities?
In fact, the volume, velocity, and variety of data that you process every day can be used to propel your e-commerce business forward – you just need to know the right way to manipulate it.
Applying big data to e-commerce initiatives awakens a number of significant challenges for the successful online retailer. The problems boil down to too much data moving too fast and too many types of data to process. The solution is to build your big data initiative around important, vetted questions.
The average business generates a great deal of data over the course of its normal operations – more data, in fact, than it’s equipped to handle. And when this data requires the continuous processing of events and data in real time, it becomes both fast data and big data. And most businesses find that this problem only compounds over time.
Counter this problem by focusing data collection on specific questions, and cataloging the rest for a later time. Get away from collecting vast quantities of data simply because it’s available – trim the volume of the data you process daily by seeking to answer the most important questions.
Velocity, like volume, is a challenge that stems from a company’s limited infrastructure capacity. This challenge results from a situation where data storage or analysis solutions run at a slower pace than data generation – more is coming in than is being processed, resulting in a backup within your system.
In the world of e-commerce, you need to approach velocity very carefully because the more time it takes for your system to gather data, the longer your customers might be waiting.
The problem of variety comes down to the needs of a particular business to process and analyze many different types of data to gain certain insights into the workings of the site or the habits of its customers.
More often than not, the value of analyzing big data is delivering the right information to the right place at the right time. But new big data analytics solutions add another level to the decision-making process, allowing you to make the right decision at the right time.
The e-commerce space presents a number of challenges around how to deal with social media data, website databases, and data generated by customer service interaction. How do you know what’s important?
You could say the final factor is value – how do you know which data you collect is valuable and which isn’t? It all comes back to the questions you ask. Work to ask the right questions and use your data to answer them.
Suddenly the volume, velocity, and variety of your data are tools in your belt, not weights on your back.