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What Does Big Data Mean for Indian E-Commerce Scenario?

Updated on February 6, 2018
TanyaKM profile image

A prolific writer of everything technology. Tanya is an avid reader, music lover and a technology enthusiast who likes to be up to date with

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The eCommerce sector has seen unprecedented growth in recent years. The growth was driven by rapid technology adoption led by the increasing use of devices such as smartphones and tablets, and access to the internet through broadband, 3G, etc., which led to an increased online consumer base. Regarding highlights, the growth shown by homegrown players such as Flipkart and Snapdeal and the huge investor interest in these companies displayed the immense potential of the market.

With the entry of eCommerce monsters such as Amazon and Alibaba, the competition is expected to intensify further. Both these international players come with deep pockets and the patience to drive the Indian eCommerce market. Also, their strong domain knowledge and best practices from their international experience give them an additional edge. Additionally, these companies have been part of markets where they have seen the eCommerce market evolve and are aware of the challenges and strategies to address issues thereof. Indian corporations realize this and are therefore aiming to continue their focus on expanding sellers and selection on their platforms, innovating on multiple customer touch points, and providing seamless and rapid delivery services to compete with the international entities.

Competition is expected to continue, with these eCommerce companies experimenting with different ways to attract customers and increase online traffic. The creation and consumption of data continues to rapidly grow around the globe with a large investment in big data analytics hardware, software, and services. The availability of large datasets is one of the core reasons that Deep Learning, a sub-set of artificial intelligence (AI), has recently emerged as the hottest tech trend. Giants like Google, Facebook, Baidu, Intel, IBM, and Microsoft are heavily investing in big data, with the acquisition of talent hot on their agenda.

Predicting trends, optimizing pricing and forecasting demand, are just some of the ways that e-commerce businesses are using data to gain a competitive advantage. The guesswork has been eradicated, and now e-commerce businesses can accurately make strategic decisions on how to operate their online empires.

How can companies then use big data tools to make it big in their fields?

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1. Give precisely what your customers need

With profits striving in a cutthroat environment in this sector, personalization has become crucial now more than it ever did. But with so much data out there achieving this is no piece of cake, unless, of course, you leverage the power of big data.

Big Data analysis gives sellers insights on consumer behavior and demographics and provides customers a personalized experience. For instance, buyer-specific emails for promotional campaigns can be created by using the data on consumer base.

2. Retaining of customers

A lot of happens we see customers adding items to carts and not ending up purchasing it, but why exactly does this happen? There are almost 14 reasons why as shown in the graph.

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The critical thing to learn is what you can do about it. According to AdRoll, a retargeting platform, “2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to an online store. Retargeting brings back the other 98%. Retargeting works by keeping track of people who visit your site and displaying your [retargeting] ads to them as they visit other sites online.”

You can use the power of Big Data to re-target buyers to decrease cart abandonment and improve conversion rates. It also gives the benefit of using feedback tools that can help understand consumer behavior indicating why customers aren’t completing transactions. Make the system more efficient by providing precise instructions on how those issues can be solved.

3. Learn to price the piece rightly

As humans, discounts and freebies will always be favored in all sectors. This is a universal truth, and no matter what one earns, discounts or complementary goods are always appreciated, making “end of season sales” so popular and loved. E-commerce companies need to leverage this love for discounts and use it for their benefit with the power of Big Data.

Dynamic pricing is the practice of pricing items at a level determined by a particular customer’s perceived ability to pay. Things to be taken into consideration are competition, time of the year, the weather, etc. All of these affect people’s moods and ability to pay. But these cannot be predicted randomly and need a channelized tool. Various tools analyze data to enable in setting the right price for products and target the right customers at the right time.

What's changing in the Indian e-commerce sector?

Big data is proving to be a game-changer when it comes to retail and e-commerce. If businesses can successfully implement effective big data strategies, then they will reap the rewards of better customer experiences and bigger profits. Convenience has been the number one driving force behind e-commerce sites’ success. With the increasing demand for convenience, however, same-day delivery features are posing new challenges. Online stores, for example, may encounter the need for higher price tags: Putting a driver behind the wheel for same-day delivery is far from cheap. But technology is on the way: Shortly, solutions to the delivery obstacle, at least, will come in the form of automated vehicles and drones. And they’re here already on its way. E-commerce behemoths like Amazon and Uber are looking to pave the way with such technology. For now, sites aiming to gain a competitive edge over the king-kas are offering consumers faster deliveries with lower prices.

With major development seen in the eCommerce tech trends, it is clear that there will be astonishing growth in the future for this sector in the coming years. Having said that, the e-Commerce field is shadowed by those who plan to embrace and anticipate changes and notch the trend before the competitors do. Because the competition in this industry is growing at a rapid phase and customers are left with abundance options to choose from. E-marketers will have to improve not only on their product quality but also will have to work on user experience to retain the customer. According to eMarketer’s study, eCommerce represented 8.6% ($1.915 trillion) of overall retail spending last year and is expected to reach 18.7% ($4.058 trillion) by 2020.

Large e-commerce websites generate between 5-10 million page views on an average every single day. Logging each of these user sessions in the backend can cause tremendous strain on the servers, not to mention the storage requirements necessary to handle this load. One way to counter this challenge is by sampling at the source. Sampling clickstream collection would efficiently address the two issues mentioned above, although it introduces new problems. For one, sampled data will not be able to accurately capture rare events such as searching for a particular term or credit card authorization failure. Furthermore, business requirements, such as payment for advertising click-through referrals, require exact (rather than approximate) statistics.

Thus, when implemented successfully, Big Data analytics can help the decision makers to identify and predict trends, understand customer behavior, predict risks, make better pricing decisions, identify potential profit sources and much more.

© 2018 TanyaK

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