Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal recently explained why most start-ups should forget much buzzed about big data and focus on plain, old data instead.Pardon the pun, but this past year big data was huge.Nearly every media outlet ran something on the promise of crunching vast amounts of data, including Inc. Small business owners have taken notice. A survey from Harris Interactive a few months back found that 76% of firms polled believe big data is an opportunity for their business.The only problem: these companies can't even agree on what "big data" means." For 28% it means "massive growth of transaction data." But 24% think it refers to new technologies for managing massive data, and 19% define it as the 'requirement to store and archive data for regulatory compliance,'" according to the survey.What does that boil down to? Big data holds lots of promise, sure, but for small businesses, realizing the benefits of this trend may still be pretty far out of reach. So should the average founder simply throw up their hands and click along to the next article whenever they read yet another headline about how they need to be using more data to run their business
Americans spent $200 billion online in 2011. The opportunity for retailers is huge–but you’re not going to grab it with a DIY website.A report this week from Forrester Research confirmed what just about everybody in business already knew: Americans are buying online and they are buying a lot.The study reported that Americans spent more than $200 billion online in 2011 and projected that total would rise to $327 billion in 2016. The 2016 figure represents 9 percent of all retail sales (up from 7 percent in 2011).Among the report’s interesting findings:53 percent of Americans made an online purchase in 2011.58 percent are expected to make an online purchase in 2016.People believe they get the best deals when shopping online.Tablet devices like the iPad have spurred online impulse buying.If these stats don’t make you want to reevaluate your e-commerce efforts—and perhaps plan a redesign!—they should.An attractive, well-organized website, with a back-end that functions seamlessly and a shopping cart that makes the purchasing process as easy and intuitive as possible will do wonders for your bottom line.Ten years ago, building a quality e-commerce website was a highly expensive proposition. You had to hire an outside firm to do it. Today, businesses can use any number of open-source platforms to build a complex, yet relatively inexpensive e-commerce site.But just because you can do it yourself, should you?I say no
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