At the 2013 Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition at Chicago’s McCormick Place, the NetSphere Strategies team hit the convention floor running. During the three-day event, we covered a lot of ground (an exhibit space of 250,000 square feet, to be exact), all the while, meeting a lot of new, interesting people and discovering a host of cutting-edge tools and technologies. And, we caught some of those experiences on film.
Over the course of the show, we got insight from industry leaders like Cheryl Wellman, the CFO at eCatalog Services, and Dan Schottenfels, vice president at CPI Data Services. No matter who we were talking to at IRCE, each conversation revealed a thought-provoking angle on the direction in which the industry is headed. And we discovered that many attendees were focused on four trends: mobile, analytics, social and cloud.
To offer additional information on those key ideas, we tracked down a few statistics that put their relevance into perspective:
Mobile: By 2014, about 25 billion visits to the Internet Retailer top 500 e-retailers will come from smartphones. – Internet Retailer
Analytics: By applying predictive analytics to Big Data, retailers have the ability to increase operating margins by over 60%. – McKinsey
Social: Social media ad revenues expected to grow to $11 billion dollars by the year 2017. – BIA/Kelsey
Cloud: By 2014, IT organizations in 30% of Global 1000 companies will broker two or more cloud services for internal and external users. – Gartner
Every year, the IRCE, hosted by Internet Retailer, is the eCommerce industry’s biggest – and most comprehensive – trade event. So it makes perfect sense that it would serve as the ideal location for networking and discussing the issues that are affecting eCommerce businesses.
For the team at NetSphere Strategies, IRCE 2013 was a major success. We came, we saw, we eCommerced! But it was the people that we met that truly made it worthwhile, and we’d like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone that participated in the video and everyone who shared their thoughts and feelings on our dynamic industry.
Information overload. The phrase barely scratches the surface when it comes to the mass quantities of data available for gathering. Take the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, for example. In 2000, when the star survey project first took off, the New Mexico telescope had collected more data in its first few weeks than had ever been collected in the history of astronomy. Since that time, it has accumulated more than 140 terabytes of information.
And if that’s not enough to blow your mind, according to the Economist, Chili’s Large Synoptic Survey Telescope is predicted to draw in that much data every five days. But it’s not just the great expanse that holds an infinite amount of information. Even the retail world has mind-boggling amounts of data to collect.
“Wal-Mart, a retail giant, handles more than 1m customer transactions every hour, feeding databases estimated at more than 2.5 petabytes—the equivalent of 167 times the books in America's Library of Congress,” reports the Economist.
Regardless of the size of the business or the amount of information it takes in, it’s essential for retailers to remember that collecting the data is just the beginning of the process. It becomes big data when each piece of information is analyzed, sized up and put into context.
In the video above, IBM expert Jeff Jonas explains why data matters. What it equates to for retailers is that when individual transactions (individual pieces of data) are placed into the bigger picture, so much can be learned about consumers and their shopping habits.