eCommerce Data: From Big To Intelligent To a Decision

A guest article by Szilard Vajda, an eCommerce Web Analytics specialist and the founder of Conversific, an intelligence software for eCommerce store owners, which is not just a simple reporting software, but like a web analyst that can give actionable advice on what you can do with your data to grow your business.

During the past couple of years, we kept on hearing a lot about the rise of new phenomenon such as business intelligence, big data. These two are expanding for the purpose of changing the role of data and facilitating our business life and decisions.

And it’s been proven to work wonders for online business and specially Shopify users. To put this simple, an eCommerce site owner can tell if a woman is pregnant even before her husband knows. Scary huh? These data are easy to get through visitors’ search history, don’t be surprised. But how Shopify users can benefit from loads of data lying behind every webstore?

In this guide, I will take you through a quick tour to build a body of understanding about Big Data, Business Intelligence, how it drives the data-based decision for Shopify stores.

1 - Big Data:

To explain this in the language of online retailers, every time a visitors take a look at your online store, he or she leaves a digital trace or what we call data.

Data is not only what a customer bought, but also how the customer navigated through the site, what else the customer looked at, searched for, did the customer click on a promotional link. 

That is why it’s called big. Data streams from nearly everything around us.

The existence and availability of all this data allow us to ask more questions, solve more problems, become more competitive, and become more effective in everything we do. Essentially, Big Data changes the game by allowing us to know our customer’s needs before they even know it themselves.

Shopify stores’ owners of today do not only want to know what happened and why it happened but also want to know what is happening right now and what is likely to happen next.

 Here are some points on how big data impacted eCommerce world:

Customer journey and behavior

Big data plays the role of tracking and studying the entire journey of a customer. Every click is counted and being monitored. This helped to divide customer into segments based on their navigation pattern, account details.

Once you know how people are using your website, what interests them and what makes them run away, you can optimize it to make the best conversion rates possible.

Personalized offers and call-to-actions

When a visitor lands on your webstore, retailers begin tracking that visitor's behavior. And that is when campaigns, coupons, and pop-ups as triggers to boost conversion rates. Not only, big data presents the opportunity to increase sales through cross-sell and upsell.

Optimized online advertising

In the past display advertising was not the best, sometimes you find yourself spending on ads without having an idea about the estimated result. Now due to big data and programmatic buying online retailers can target their advertisements precise to their customers/visitors. And with a look-a-like modeling like the one available on Facebook Ads, it is possible to reach new potential customers, the ones that they have similar interests and data as your customers’.

Now you might be asking “but how the process works? As a human you need long sleepless weeks to organize the data, stock it and understand it, but thankfully Business Intelligence exists.

2 - Business Intelligence

Since big data comes in an unstructured form, business intelligence does that job to deploy it for us in an easy-to-understand form.

For example, your Shopify store could gather information on the best performing product, which customers are loyal, what’s the most visited page, which product is selling like fire. However, the challenge to transform all this information to effective business information becomes more difficult as the information keeps growing exponentially.

So in this case business intelligence systems play the role of converting raw data into information that provides your store with new insights and benefits decisions making.

If you thinking about which system can do this work for your Shopify store, here some tips on choosing the right software and the feature you need the most.

  • Reporting: your eCommerce BI software has to provide a clear overview of the past activities of your store. Mainly past statistic information such as earnings, traffic, conversion, past marketing revenue.
  • Monitoring: here we talk about real time data, what product is selling high? What’s your best performing marketing channel? What is the location of your new shoppers?
  • Analytics: it is about building the logic behind the data, the relationship between different KPIs, which element increased or decreased your sales? What affected your marketing performance? What keyword worked best for your SEO?
  • Prediction: the prediction algorithm combines all information from monitoring and analytics in order to make future predictions. At this part, data has to be collected, compared interpreted so the prediction would be accurate.
3 - Data-based decision making

We, humans, make decisions, knowingly or unknowingly, all the time. For example, you think about which product to feature on your homepage, you choose between two and then you just decide.

In 1977 Herbert Simon already introduced his normative model of decision making that provides a clear overview of the link between Big Data, Business Intelligence, and Decision Making. Simon's (1977) famous model of decision making contains three phases:

  • Intelligence gathering: the identification of the problem calling for a decision and the data collection of the problem.
  • Design: inventing, developing, and analyzing the available data to test the outcome of the available options.
  • Choice: select a particular option based on the selection criteria.

So the roles will be distributed like the following:

Big data: Identifying the problem that is calling for a decision, gather intelligence by collects tons of data.

Business intelligence: Application, systems, techniques that analyze the data from phase one and helps to test the outcome of the available options.

Decision making: The choice between two or more options based on which one you prefer, but the good thing the two options provided are data-based.


Business intelligence can make sure you have a sustainable Shopify store since all the decisions are not made randomly, however well studied and tested.

Not only, it enables rapid and informed decisions across your business with real-time data and analytics, all you have to do is cut the guess-work.

Getting deep insights and hidden-trends from across multiple channels becomes as easy as a pie.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published