Online Retailers and Real-Time Data: It’s About Quality, Not Quantity

Online retailers already know it’s been a good holiday season for sales, but is having real-time data in their hands a good thing?

With immediate data available, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) can make suggestions to customers based on their previous searching and purchasing. These actions have recently expanded to companies such as Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), which can target users with either an upsell or new items after review their game playing.

These retailers face the challenge of what information to look for and then using it to generate revenues. This includes a need for both technical and data science skills.

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One way to achieve this is to employ more software-as-a-service offerings to deliver data intelligence and analysis. But before doing this, businesses still have to answer the question, “What should I look for?”

If you’re working from a marketing angle, are you interested in lead conversion, product tweets or abandoned shopping cart rates?

Or, if you’re looking at information from an infrastructure perspective, are you interested in potential information on Amazon Web Services (AWS) images freezing, service-provider costs or network latency?

The list of data sources is large and could be difficult to track and measure, varying among team members and departments.

Recently, Cloudera CEO Mike Olson said that big data needs should encompass more of the problems Hadoop and other tools can solve, how they can be deployed and utilized.

At the end of the day, it will matter more what kind of data that you have than the quantity and subsequently what you actually do with it.

Online retailers are great at finding data and knowing what to do with it, whereas brick and mortar stores still have a lot of other data to work with such as customer sentiment, sales patterns, and location mapping in-store, but not always in real-time. If they could change this, it could help them.

This real-time data is just another example of using all the information at one’s hands and increasing profits.

Other online retail stocks to watch: eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY), Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSTK), Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY).

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