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Data Unification: The Secret Weapon for eCommerce Growth

This article originally appeared on Philstar Tech

Only one out of every five companies in the retail sector in the Philippines is highly data driven. And guess what? A majority of them use their local computers and rudimentary Excel sheets to store and manage their data. Hard to believe, right? But that’s exactly what PwC’s Data Analytics Assessment and Readiness Survey revealed. Admittedly this report was released in 2020 and since then, a sort of data revolution has been underway in the Philippines. However, the fact remains that the majority of companies are still far from effectively harnessing the power of data and analytics.

From numerous conversations with eCommerce brands and sellers in recent months the one common thread that has emerged is that they are all struggling to cope with the complexities of doing business. From countering algorithms from the likes of Facebook and Amazon, to making sure their margin does not evaporate on a daily basis, the struggle is real. The key to unlocking growth and profitability lies in data.

Let’s talk about data

Every day, eCommerce businesses generate an enormous amount of data. When it comes to data there are the 5 “Vs” to keep in mind. Volume is the number of data points in a data set. Variety is the number of parameters at each data point. Velocity is how quickly data is generated and how quickly it moves. Veracity is the accuracy and quality of a data set and Value is the potential economic value that the data might create.

Why should this matter? It matters because it brings into perspective just how vast, complex and complicated data can be. Any eCommerce business wanting to make the most of their data needs to be well prepared for it.

What is data unification?

Today data in eCommerce is siloed and scattered across many areas – from sales channels to marketing platforms to inventory, supply chain and CRM systems. Manually accessing data from different systems each time an analysis is required is time-consuming and error prone. In order to make any meaningful analysis or decision based on data, it needs to be unified.

The first step in data unification is to integrate data from various sources and create a centralized repository that serves as the single source of truth.

Second, is data cleaning and prepping. Data is incredibly diverse, coming in a multitude of forms. Some of these forms consist of structured tables, while others, like PDF reports, do not conform to a specific structure. What is needed is structured information derived from multiple heterogeneous factors. One point to note here is that it is important to identify the right data sources for specific metrics. Your output is only as good as your input.

Third, having access to real-time information is crucial in making informed decisions. Outdated data can be detrimental and lead to disastrous decision-making. An additional aspect to consider is that data is constantly evolving over time. Take, for instance, different ad platforms which may have varying attribution windows ranging from seven to thirty days. When analyzing and interpreting data, it is crucial to keep this in mind.

How can data unification help eCommerce businesses?

There are significant benefits to having unified data.

  • Data democratization. When everyone has access to the same information, it becomes easier to align goals, identify areas for improvement, and drive collective success.

  • Smarter decision making. By empowering people with reliable, and data backed insights, they can make informed decisions.

  • Boosted efficiency. Eliminating data silos will result in streamlining operations while maximizing productivity and improving cost efficiencies.

  • Competitive advantage. Real-time data and insights can help to adapt swiftly to market changes and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

In today’s data-driven eCommerce world, having a unified view of your data is absolutely essential. Implement a data unification solution to gain actionable insights, improve decision-making, and watch your business reach its full potential.

Authored By Prem Bhatia, Co-Founder and CEO, of Graas.

Prem Bhatia

8 Mar 2024

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