So What’s Hindering E-commerce / Retail Initiatives?

So What’s Hindering E-commerce / Retail Initiatives?

Posted on March 31, 2016 0 Comments

Few industries have access to more data regarding consumers, products, and channels than the retail and consumer industries. Data-derived insights should be at the heart of what drives this business. Yet beyond the hype, most attempts at using big data to build a competitive advantage have been dismal failures.

Despite a decade of advice from pundits that retailers need to improve the overall consumer experience — both in the physical and digital stores, the same problems persist. It drives me nuts that in 2016, search still offers zero results or way too many; that you can’t tell why the Sony TV costs $500 more than a similar Samsung TV (the details are in the “sparse data”), and that the overall experience is just not fun nor intuitive.

And the proof is in the stats – according to industry analyst Monetate1, a mere 3 percent of online visitors to e-commerce websites actually buy anything. That’s not to say that retailers are not trying to improve their e-commerce conversion rates. In fact, some of the largest retailers in the U.S. – Wal-Mart and Target are investing billions of dollars in their e-commerce infrastructure, however – most U.S. consumers prefer as a shopping destination. A recent Reuters/Ipsos2 poll found that 51 percent planned to do most of their online shopping at Amazon over the holiday season, compared to 16 percent at Wal-Mart, 3 percent at Target and 2 percent at Macy’s.

So, as Marvin Gaye so famously said, “What’s Going On?”. What may be holding retailers back is in the way they’re organizing their data. I recently addressed the data conundrum that retailers are wrestling with in an article for TDWI’s Business Intelligence Journal (Vol. 20, No. 4). In it, I explore why big data projects, particularly with respect to e-commerce initiatives, fail and why traditional database technology is ill-suited for creating an agile, responsive e-commerce experience for consumers. Learn how NoSQL represents a transformational opportunity by bridging data disconnects with a more flexible and scalable database. Read the entire journal edition here.



  1. Monetate Q4, 2014 Report
  2. Reuters/Ipsos poll: U.S. consumers favor Amazon for online holiday shopping article in Reuters by Nathan Layne

Donald Soares

View all posts from Donald Soares on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.


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