Small data - Big business

Webshops must use ‘small data’ efficiently in their business development

This research project will examine how small and medium-sized webshops can use small data efficiently in their business development.

The project will contribute with new, practice-orientated knowledge for a commercially relevant field based on theoretical feasibility studies and interviews with experts and leading webshops in this area.

Data, and the proper use of this data, according to many is the recipe for success for companies. Literature and foreign experience conclude that there are benefits if huge amounts of data are interpreted and applied correctly (e.g. for the optimisation of customer profiles, processes and targeted marketing efforts), but the question is how?

Small data develops online business

Big Data is on everyone’s lips and signals large and extensive investments – which may seem daunting, especially for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). On the other hand, SMBs can greatly benefit with an increased understanding and use of small data in their business development.

Small data is data that the companies themselves have access to and the resources to analyse and apply. This can for example be the company’s sales history, customer behaviour, etc.

The project assumes that many webshops will see new opportunities for their business by using this data. The use of small data can, among other things, increase sales to existing customers, personalise and improve customer value and experiences in webshops.

What is Big Data?

Big Data refers to the collection, analysis and interpretation of huge amounts of data in order to improve the company’s performance. Big Data can be internal or public data such as e-mails and social media.

Instruction guide for small and medium-sized webshops

The project will develop an instruction guide for webshops based on the achieved results. In addition, the project will:

  • contribute to a greater understanding and use of data in a webshop’s business development with focus on customers.
  • have a positive effect on a webshop’s future practice, sales figures and  competitiveness.
  • contribute to the current research in this field – not least by coupling a practice-orientated approach to a at times abstract concept.
  • contribute with knowledge in the form of cases for teaching purposes.

Cooperation with Aarhus University

The project seeks to make the concept of Big Data understandable and usable for small and medium-sized businesses. We will map the latest Big Data knowledge, including how some of the most successful Danish SMBs use data to drive business development - with particular focus on webshops. By combining Aarhus University’s research competencies with Business Academy Aarhus’ network of practitioners, the project will attempt to draw up recommendations for the future use of data in Danish companies.

— Sune Dueholm Müller, Associate Professor at Aarhus University

Interviewed webshops and experts

Project period and contact person

  • Project period: October 2014 – June 2016
  • Project Manager: Gitte Damgaard