One of the major pillars of e-commerce is the web store — that virtual shopping garden through which an estimated $230 billion will flow in 2013. Lots and lots of online stores compete for their share of the still-growing e-commerce market.
So how does one start an e-commerce venture, i.e.: a store?
There are three basic approaches:
1. Write the code from scratch.
2. Open a domain-hosted store.
3. Use a framework.
With #1 comes the advantages of more control (or at least the hope of that), but the burden of having to write a lot of code. From initial idea to first sale could mean months of development work just to get rudimentary features ready for a production environment.
The second option is viable, as long as you’re okay with being the step-child of Amazon, Ebay, or Yahoo, or one of the lessers. Your store may never have the serious cachet or bragging rights as a stand-alone site, but if what matters most is getting started quickly, then go for it.
Door number 3 is the approach taken by hundred of thousands of Internet entrepreneurs. Over the last 10 years the emergence of a bunch of very viable opensource e-commerce frameworks has made it easier than ever to open that store for business.
So what does this have to do with Big Data?
Big Data isn’t magic. It’s not that very different from old-fashioned data. Actually, it’s just data — it’s just that there’s a lot more of it being produced a lot faster than ever … distributed, accessible, and increasingly important for e-commerce. Big Data means access and analysis using innovative new tools. E-commerce wants to play with those tools. With the three basic approaches listed above, all three will have a need for and relationship with Big Data. All three approaches present different opportunities and challenges in doing so.
Before you launch your Big Idea e-commerce venture in the salad days of Big Data, the question to asks, “Which of the three approaches will serve me best?” And an increasingly important part of the answer will be how well the approach nurtures your own relationship with Big Data.