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  • 18 September, 2017

Enhancing online shopping through big data

Enhancing online shopping through big data

E-commerce is on the rise, and economic competitiveness can grow if the process is streamlined. One way of achieving this is by analysing the huge volumes of data, i.e. Big Data, that come from different electronic sources such as online sales, delivery records, customer reviews, spending habits, social media, point-of-sale systems, logistics companies and much more. Under the e-commerce pilot, the TransformingTransport project has set out to make great strides in this respect.

Firstly, let’s have a look at how shopping has been changing in recent years. In 2016, Ecommerce Europe reported that 57% of European internet users are now shopping online. European Business-to-Consumer (B2C) sales have been steadily growing in the last five years, with increased demand for better service. In the face of tough online competition (think a grand pan-EU market with no tariffs or borders), retailers are scrambling to enhance the online shopping experience with every click.

The trend is definitely proliferating among younger generations who will undoubtedly hold on to their much-coveted online shopping experience. In Germany and the UK, over 65% of shoppers below 22 years old claim that they want both online and physical shopping, with around 40% asking for an easier shopping experience and improved customer service. What’s more, around 45% of online shopping consumers are demanding improved delivery service, as well as easier returns and refunds, according to 2016 figures from E-commerce Europe.

What’s the role of Big Data in all this?

Even more relevant figures to the logistics sector and to Big Data have emerged from Citizens Advice, revealing that two-thirds of consumers have had at least one issue with online package delivery in the last year. Interestingly, the problem isn’t in late or lost deliveries, but simply in not finding anyone home when delivery occurs.

And here’s where Big Data can help in e-commerce: it can contribute significantly to personalising services, advance dynamic pricing, analyse future trends, optimise the supply chain and help increase visibility.

Big data can ultimately be analysed to streamline the distribution process in e-commerce. This can lead to more efficient routes and shipping methods, enhancing related processes and homing in on solutions that can meet consumer’s ever-increasing demand for faster and better service.

Once the e-commerce pilot is completed, it will yield valuable insights and propose strategies that can support e-commerce on an EU-wide level and render the European economy more productive, more efficient and more lucrative. Benefits will no doubt be felt by shoppers who will enjoy a better online – and even offline – shopping experience.

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