Using Big Data for Retail E-Commerce

BLG01x - edited feature imageThe e-commerce field demonstrates a stable and rapid growth. This is good and bad news at the same time. From one hand, the market is in demand and full of consumers. On other hand, the competition is substantial as well.

Big Data is capable of turning all of the useless data, which is produced by every e-commerce store, into value helping to understand your customers better. Consequently, you could get a competitive advantage with its assistance.

Let’s dig a bit deeper to learn the use cases of this technology in e-commerce, common pitfalls many entrepreneurs are faced with during their tries to adopt it, and software vendors you can choose from.

Big Data Use Cases in E-Commerce

The turnover of goods via the internet has grown significantly over the last four years. I would like to turn to statistics to help you picture the extent of that growth:

  • There were 300 million active users on Amazon in 2015.
  • There were 183 million people who visited Amazon in September 2017 alone.
  • 87 million people visited Walmart and 86 million more visited eBay within the same timeframe in 2017.

All these people generate an enormous amount of data that have to be collected and processed to bring some value. Entrepreneurs actually have two options: they either ignore all that data or adopt technologies to tame them. The first option does not seem so attractive since it is deprived of data-driven decisions. The second one is the path most modern e-commerce companies have stepped in.

But what are the real benefits of big data for e-commerce? Let’s find out what this technology enables you to do as a business owner.

  1. Foresee the trends

A tailor-made forecasting system which is capable of pulling data from multiple sources and analyzing it — that’s what it takes. Another option to foresee what goods will be best-sellers in a particular time of the year or in general — track advertising data. Marketing campaigns are a valuable source of information and their monitoring can help the system predict the demand for one or another type of goods.

  1. Determine the perfect retail price

Retail margins are what determine the revenue. But if prices are too high, customers will less likely buy from you. That is the reason why price formation is so crucial for e-commerce.

Big Data powered software can help businesses solve this issue by collecting and comparing prices on various goods from all over the internet. Developers can adjust it for gathering competitors’ prices, popularity on different items, approximate number of sales, etc. What’s more, all this is possible in a real-time mode.

  1. Forecast the demand

Demand is a key factor for reaching an optimal turnover of goods and growing revenue as a result. The more time an item is kept in a warehouse, the more you spend. Expenses for storage have to be optimized, otherwise financial troubles are guaranteed.

Big data can handle this and forecast the demand for a group of goods in general or a certain item in particular. All this helps you determine which goods and when to store in your warehouse as well as give an approximate number of sales for a specific period of time.

  1. Personalize the customer experience

Advanced personalization is one of the biggest trends in e-commerce app development over the last several years. As you may have guessed, big data comes in handy for personalization as well.

How is that? Modern browsers are able to memorize the requests of users, their preferences and store this information for personalizing the user experience. Your e-commerce store can do the same and monitor users’ preferences to suggest the most relevant goods.

This way, revenue tends to grow because customers see goods they potentially would like to buy (based on browser’s data). So think about data-driven suggestions to enhance the experience of customers and boost your sales.

  1. Improve the service

Tough competition on the market is the reason why your e-commerce business has to be client-oriented. In another way, chances are you will lose a customer. Statistics shows that 90% of consumers refuse to buy from a company with a poor service, while about 50% of them abandon a transaction if their payment is not processed fast enough.

Big data can help you identify similar problems and eliminate them before they lead to considerable expenses.

  1. Boost the sales

To let business grow, you have to take care of sales. In fact, all of the previously mentioned points affect the sales to some extent. Big Data allows you making data-driven decisions and optimize the business effectively observing the holistic picture.

Barriers to adopting Big Data in e-commerce

There are a bunch of difficulties you can be faced with when adopting big data solutions to your e-commerce business. Let’s take a look at the most widespread ones.

  • Unrealistic expectations. Do not perceive Big Data as a magic wand that will solve all of your problems. It is not true. Big Data is just a tool and the way you use it defines how successful or unsuccessful this experience will be.
  • Little knowledge. You have to understand the basics of Big Data to be able to ask the right questions and hire experienced developers.
  • Security problems. Big Data knows too much about every internet user. These tons of sensitive and general information can leak and cause a lot of troubles. So before adopting this technology, ensure you have a cybersecurity expert or apply to a trusted company.
  • No analytics. Big Data stands for gathering information. To make use of it, the system has to process the data. So bear in mind that you should invest in analytics tools to get the results processed and visualized.
  • Equipment. The hardware and software part of your system has to be powerful enough to handle large amounts of data. Do not underestimate the importance of equipment.

Software solutions for Big Data in e-commerce

There are not so many powerful software that can be used to adopt Big Data for the e-commerce project. Underneath, I have listed the five providers of Big Data analytics services. Some of them are a good fit for professionals, some for newbies.

Dundas BI

This is a fully-customizable web-based dashboard for e-commerce big data analytics. It can be integrated or linked with other tools. The company offers a flexible pricing policy and provides API for developers.


It is a professional platform for Big Data analytics which can be customized according to your needs. Pentaho gives their customers a free trial period.


Oracle is a well-known company in the field of data analytics. They offer their customer an out-of-the-box Big Data solution.


Cloudera is a complex system that requires a technical background to work with. It is an open-source software that is distributed under the Apache License.


This is a simple and scalable platform with a good performance. There are several editions of this software: Vertica Enterprise and Vertica in the Clouds. The first one is an analytical database, while the second one is a cloud analytics platform that supports Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

Wrapping up

Big data is a powerful tool for e-commerce business. With its help, you can see the coherent picture, foresee a lot of factors (e.g. demand, price), and boost your company’s revenue. However, there are several pitfalls that should be avoided during adoption.


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Sergey Lypchenko

Sergey Lypchenko

Sergey Lypchenko is a technical writer at Cleveroad. Cleveroad is a web and mobile app development company located in Eastern Europe whose main goal is to develop first-rate and competitive software for our customers.

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