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IRX 2012: Preview Looking ahead to at IRX 2012

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In our latest preview of one of our major events of the year, Internet Retailing Expo (IRX 2012), we asked for a sneak preview of the presentation that will be making with QuBit, all about the challenges presented by big data, and how to make dealing with it more manageable.

Internet Retailing: Why is understanding the data so important for retailers?

Graham Cooke, chief executive, QuBit: As a retailer today if you know and really understand who your users are, you’ve got such a competitive advantage because you can create better, more personalised experiences. The days where you could just look at page views or conversions, visits or visitors are really getting to be beyond us. Now you need to know about who your users are, what they need and what stage of the journey they are on prior to purchasing.

IR: How did you help to deal with the volume of data it sees?

GC: is an exciting brand that carries products from 2,000 different companies on their site. People are on their site for different reasons looking at so many different things. We provide the technology for them to look at what their users are doing, and how they’re interacting with their products.

In order to look at your users in this way, creates a lot of data and information and that presents a challenge in itself. A lot of unstructured data is very hard to get through. How do you look for patterns and signals that are relevant to telling you what your users experience on your site? I guess what we’ve been helping them do is create these personal experiences.

For example, we showed first-time visitors from Google a couple of different layouts of the page, with different information, different structure and that increased conversions by 10% for 37% of their traffic.

But it also showed that traffic from returning users who were used to the site preferred the structure the old way. Making a simple segmentation such as users who have come to the site for the first time vs regular users helps them to serve their customers better.

IR: What difference has this approach made?

GC: We’ve been working with Notonthehighstreet for seven or eight months now. There have been big improvements in conversion and revenues from the areas we’ve been experimenting with.

IR: Big data will, presumably, only get bigger in the future. How can retailers best plan to make to turn the data they are getting into an asset rather than a hindrance?

GC: I think retailers need to develop in the broad sense of things a strategy first of all to think about their users. Stop just thinking about websites and web metrics but think about user metrics. That’s a mindset change. Everybody’s been thinking about web analytics and conversion rates – now you need to start thinking about users: who are our users? How do they experience our website and learn about our products? That’s the first step.

The second big step to take is how do you develop a strategy to collect session-based data, to understand user sessions, collecting very granular data sets around what users are doing on your site. Doing that is getting easier with the right technology in place. You can’t use excel, basic databases to do this type of thing. The data is too large, the models are more complex. Instead, you need to be approaching things with a new approach to data, using and harnessing statistical techniques an artificial intelligence as well as using new database technology and new data processing systems.

This is what QuBit does – QuBit builds technology that brings together session-based data with artificial intelligence processing, with statistical-based models and new data processing techniques as well.

Find out more about dealing with Big Data firsthand from Graham Cooke of QuBit and Maya Moufarek, interim CMO of at Internet Retailing 2012 (IRX 2012). Their presentation, Putting big data to work, is in the Customer Experience Conference at 2pm on March 22.

Entrance to IRX 2012, which will be held at the NEC in Birmingham on March 21 and 22, is free. More than 4,000 visitors are expected at the event, which features an exhibition of 150 suppliers to the ecommerce and multichannel industries alongside a two-day learning programme, Selling in the Digital Age.

The programme features four conferences, dedicated to Mobile and Social Commerce, Fast Track, Enterprise and Customer Experience, as well as a series of workshops, learning sessions and demonstrations of the latest technology.

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