Data is the oil that’s lubricating the sales machines at huge online retailers like and is exploring user behavior for tech giants like Google and Facebook.

According to Amazon Web Services (AWS), its payments data engineering team alone is responsible for data ingestion, transformation and storage of a growing dataset of more than 750 TB.

That enormous volume will dwarf that of most other organizations, but this doesn’t mean that their data is any less valuable or that there isn’t room left to compete.

The insight that a retailer can gain from good quality data isn’t determined by how much there is of it, but rather by how it’s collected, analyzed and used to meet customers’ requirements. Where will demand be particularly high next weekend? How much influence will the weather have on online sales? Under what circumstances is the probability of fraud or returns particularly high? Why does the customer behave like this and not differently? The answer to all of these questions is in the data.

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