Due to the volume and types of data available in a social commerce marketplace combined with the volume of data available in the retail supply chain there is a very strong opportunity for data overload.  This is especially problematic due to the fact that it is very hard to determine what data is important in this tsunami of data that keeps washing over retailers.  Combine with this the additional labor required to monitor the social networks and this can quickly become a little overwhelming for anyone.  This is exactly the time when it is important to remember the old saying - ‘you eat the elephant one bite at a time’!.  While it is important to collect data that is available for future historical reference as your ability to consumer data grows, it is also important to begin analyzing the data that you understanding and then build on this understanding to expand data utilization.


It is too easy to get overloaded with the amount of data available and the search for a use for all of the data and that is why you must limit your focus to topics or subjects that can be addressed in an easier manner.  You do not need to understand or use everything all of the time.  This is an important concept and critical to getting through the array of information to something meaningful for you at the time.  It is important on what is meaningful and necessary at a point in time rather than attempting to consumer and use all data immediately.  Remember that this is an exploration of the meaning of this data to your marketplace and this exploration builds on data as you explore and discover new uses.  That is really the point of data mining; the exploration of data to obtain meaning and guidance in response to business questions. 


One important aspect though in your data exploration is the value and necessity of collecting as much data as possible, even if you do not have an immediate use for the data.  You will start with a finite amount of data that you are using for analysis and service level tracking and then as you explore and question your current metrics you will identify new and refined metrics which can then be added to the measurements with historical background.  In addition, you should also continuously and regularly review the data collected against additional data available to identify additional data that can help in your metrics and research. 


Let’s face it, you will start with a concept of collecting all data that you believe is conceivably useful and then through research, or more likely, new offerings and capabilities you realize that other additional data is required to perform new research or bring clarity to existing research.  This is the reason why you must continually question and review your data strategy.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?