Big Data has been and continues to be one of the hot keywords in technological business. But what sets Big Data apart from other buzzwords? Basically, the real need which already exists in the market and in particular the need which we are starting to glimpse in the near future.
Big Data basically means processing large amounts of data. How large? Large enough for it to be very complex and expensive to process them using relational database technology and classic data analysis techniques.
The need for new data analysis techniques has arisen over the last decade due to two main reasons. The main one is the exponential growth of the amount of information generated. In addition, there is a need to process these data in less and less time. We are already living in a “real time” age, and data must be processed within milliseconds so that the analysis results can be delivered to a decision maker as soon as possible.
The main features of Big Data
The main challenges associated with Big Data are usually summed up as the 4 Vs:
- Volume: we generate an increasingly large data volume, at a pace which makes it hard for our information systems to process them.
- Velocity: if were are unable to analyse data at the same time as they are generated, we will be unable to process all that information, much less process it in time for it to be useful in decision making.
- Variety: as we must process different types of data to be able to generate the insights required. E.g. in order to have a 360º view of your customers, you must analyse their shopping history, their website visit pattern, their social network profile, their interactions with the customer support or customer service department, etc.
- Value: basically, any data analysis must provide insights with high added value to the company in order for it to make sense. What is hard is here is being able to make the right questions that allow you to extract the maximum value from your data.
Big Data and eCommerce
One of the sectors where Big Data is expected to have a large impact in eCommerce, as it is a sector that includes all the variables to make maximum use of this kind of technology:
- It is a growing sector with hardly any barriers to growth, so it will increasingly require the storage of larger and larger data amounts.
- In eCommerce, we need to have the fullest possible knowledge of your customers in order to adapt to their needs, and we increasingly want (and are able) to find more about them.
- Amazon’s dominance is making customers used to a personalized shopping experience, something which is only possible if we store and process every small bit of information provided by users. Itegrate an eCommerce personalization solution into your online store in order to deliver the best possible user experiences.
- Even though we are still in a growth stage (and in some countries in the development stage),some eCommerce niches will soon start to reach maturity, which will generate great data processing needs in order to optimise operating costs and all processes involved.
Big Data and eCommerce Personalisation
As was mentioned before, personalization is becoming a necessary aspect of eCommerce. Firstly, customers are starting to get used to fully personalized shopping experiences in websites like Amazon, Target, etc. Secondly, personalization makes it possible to offer a unique shopping experience that will result in a higher sales volume and operating margin. However, in order to adequately personalize the shopping experience, we must be able to process in real time large data volumes, such as a user’s behaviour history in the online store, products or categories visited, products added to the cart, products shared on social media, etc.
Using all this information, you can personalize the shopping experience in various ways. Most obviously, by providing personalized product recommendations that help to increase conversion rates by offering users the products that can be of most interest to them at all times. The average shopping cart value can also be increased by enabling much more effective cross-selling.
Another type of personalization tool that can help an online store is email retargeting, that is to say, automated delivery of fully personalized emails on the basis of user behaviour: shopping cart recovery emails when a user abandons a shopping cart, newsletters including products selected for each user and segmented on the basis of the user’s level of activity in the website, etc.
Behavioural Targeting tools can also be used to change the online store in real time on the basis of the user’s behaviour. In this way, rules can be defined, such as “if a user adds a product to the shopping cart and we don’t have his/her email, display a pop-up to obtain his/her email” or “if a user has viewed a product more than 3 times in the last month but has not purchased it yet, display a 10% discount coupon”.
Finally, eCommerce Gamification techniques can also be used to build a more loyal and solid customer base. By means of gamification, game mechanics can be defined to encourage users to share products on social networks, write product reviews, etc.
Generally, a medium-size online store does not have the technological capacity to carry out these developments itself, as they are costly in terms of time and resources. However, online stores can use the eCommerce personalization solutions currently available in the market to make maximum use of these technologies while assuming no risks.
What are you waiting for to bring your store into the next level by means of Big Data?