Are retailers ready to deal with ‘Gargantuan Data’?
EBay’s modeling predicts the amount of data available from online commerce transactions will double every year in the near term and reach a point in 2020 where e-commerce sites will have the equivalent of 5,200 gigabytes of data for every person on the planet.
This prediction has prompted eBay — responsible for one out of every five dollars spent globally online — to discard the term "Big Data" in favor of a new tier of data volume, "Gargantuan Data," according to Gayatri Patel, the company’s director of data strategies. She spoke last week at Teradata Partners Conference in Nashville, TN.
Ms. Gayatri reminded the audience of the rapid transition physical stores and online commerce sites are undergoing in catering to the way customers want to do business with them. Her message was consistent with many other speakers at this venue. Simply put, with new systems and tools in place to capture every aspect of the transaction, database platforms must be built for scalability, centralization and rapid accessibility. She also underscored the notion that the lines between e-tailers, such as eBay and Amazon, and physical stores, such as Nordstrom, Best Buy and even entire shopping malls, are indeed blurring.
To eBay’s advantage, the company collects store and model data not just from eBay’s buyers, but also from sellers. EBay is smartly leveraging the data it receives about its sellers by creating business relationships designed to grow each partner’s business in a mutually beneficial way. Driven by shopper priorities, eBay has begun partnering with an increasing number of very notable brick-and-mortar retailers and in some cases actually directing shoppers to a physical store for a particular item if the shopper is in the area and ready to buy.
Another impressive example of a structured partnership with physical retailing was demonstrated by successful implementation of Digital Store Fronts in selected Westgate Malls. Mall shoppers simply touch a storefront screen to scroll and find the merchandise they are looking for and order it for home delivery. The retailer in this case receives the advantage of the mall traffic but spares the expense of having physical inventory on site.
EBay is moving rapidly and has a solid strategy for growth. Its growing relationships with physical retailers reflect confidence it will continue to prosper if it lets the shopper dictate the products and services it offers. It will be very interesting to see if others attempt to follow this model of collaboration.
Are retailers, generally speaking, prepared to deal with the increasing amount of data they receive? What lessons can be learned from eBay’s data usage and mutually beneficial relationships with its sellers?