The Challenges and Opportunities for E-commerce in a Big Data World
The highly competitive world of e-commerce is driven by price and advertising. Companies must find ways to successfully reach customers, who generally are not loyal, through successful ad campaigns and effective pricing techniques. A vital tool for success in e-commerce is Big Data.
To succeed in e-commerce, companies rely on information that tells them how to price products, which products to keep on hand and what the best ways are to market those products.
Traditionally, companies relied on manual techniques to gather and analyze large sets of data that would give them this information. While it was the best companies had to work with, trying to analyze such large amounts of data was and remains very flawed. Limited by human ability and knowledge, important information goes unused and unnoticed. Additionally, personal bias and motivation also limit the gathering and storage of important data.
With Big Data, companies can significantly increase their effectiveness in gathering, analyzing and implementing the huge amounts of information available to them. It combines the numerous pieces of the information puzzle and fits them together to form a detailed picture, free of bias or limitation, that illustrates the companies strengths and weaknesses. It also provides insight into how to continue building on strengths while eliminating weaknesses.
Our e-commerce use case highlights how Big Data can assist companies in implementing the technology necessary for success, and do it without needing capital investment or a large infrastructure.
Big Data Tools to Simplify E-commerce Data Processing
The first step is for companies to have a tool that makes sense of all the data being gathered. Data coming from different sources, like clickstream and social, generally takes on many forms which can be difficult to analyze and manage if they remain in those different forms. Qubole’s DbTap solves this problem. DbTap is a system that simplifies data into one form that can be recognized and analyzed across Qubole’s various Big Data tools.
Along with DbTap, Qubole also offers Pig as a service. Apache Pig is a program that assists companies with extract, transform, load (ETL). It’s extremely easy to learn and works seamlessly with DbTap (as do all other Qubole data tools). Pig helps companies schedule when to get the desired data as well as making sense of that data so it can actually be implemented. Pig is simpler than traditional map-reducing and Java programs, but it does very similar things. Its simplicity allows analysts and programmers to focus on the data itself instead of worrying about the program.
After working with Big Data long enough, companies will eventually bring together master data sets with huge amounts of data that will need a separate and more sophisticated program to analyze them. Qubole offers both Hive as a Service and Presto as a Service to solve this problem. Both programs originated with Facebook. The older of the two programs, Apache Hive, was created by the founders of Qubole during their time at Facebook, and has proven extremely effective since its inception. Presto’s open source platform was released just last year and has added a new dynamic to real-time data gathering and implementation.
Hive as a service is great for analyzing complex data sets when the information isn’t needed immediately. Presto, however, is a real-time generator of analyzed data. It’s ideal for companies dealing with unusual questions or emerging ideas that they haven’t dealt with in the past.
Finally, after companies are familiar with programs like Apache Hive and Apache Pig and have the necessary data needed, then it’s time to get into more advanced data processing, like machine learning. This is when more traditional and more complex Hadoop programs can be implemented to handle the growing volume and variety of data sources.
Succeeding in e-commerce and succeeding in Big Data require step-by-step implementation to ensure proper function. With the different tools Qubole offers as a service, clients are sure to succeed in product price, inventory and advertising campaigns.