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What The 3 Vs of Big Data Mean for E-Commerce Businesses

Big data is a trendy term to describe the availability and growth of both structured and unstructured data, and it can be just as important to the growth of an industry as any other major marketing scheme. It offers an accurate way for more businesses to interact with their customers, remain competitive, and market their brand.

To accompany this every growing business dimension, data analyst Doug Laney of Gartner introduced the three Vs as a major concept of big data all the way back in 2001. Though it’s been years since the introduction to this philosophy, the points behind it remain true to this day. According to Laney, there are three V’s used to describe the the facets of big data, and by understanding those, businesses can enhance their information gathering skills and use big data to their greatest advantage.


This V refers to the amount of data made available to e-commerce businesses, and is primarily focused on data stored from e-commerce transactions in the last several years. It gives businesses an inside look at any data both consumers and companies offer during a transaction, which in turn gives the company an idea of how to use that data to improve their own transactions.

Other factors that significantly influence the volume of data made available also include streaming of unstructured data on social media platforms and increases in the amount of sensor and machine-to-machine data collected.

Once a storage issue, the excessive volume of big data is now a wealth of knowledge any business can use to enhance their customer interaction. Though it can be difficult to find relevant points among the masses of stored information, savvy marketers can dive deep into the knowledge base to learn more about what customers do and don’t like when it comes to e-commerce channels.


Data today is both varied and variable. It is delivered in a multitude of formats, including unstructured media shared across the web in unconventional manners, and structured numeric data shared through traditional databases. The challenge in this aspect of the three Vs is learning how to manage and merge the many varieties to make a cohesive data bank.

Still, the vast variety makes it possible for e-commerce businesses to find data relevant to them, even in the most unstructured of fields. With simple keyword searches and an eye for relevant detail, businesses will have a wealth of information on their hands to enhance any of their strategies.


A major part of any e-commerce business is the point of interaction speed. The streaming of data today is faster than ever before, with new news stories and information leaked to the interweb in every format. In order for businesses to make the most of the continuous flood of data, they need to react in a timely manner to harness the material and use it to their greatest advantages.

Many businesses will use RFID tags, sensors, and smart metering to deal with the new datasets every day. Though the data can quickly go out of trend and attract less attention, e-commerce businesses can channel the data for the good of their corporation, driving pageviews and social media responses during the duration of the trend.

The three Vs of big data are about more than simply analyzing data trends. They can be a useful tool to help businesses stay competitive and up to date with their websites and business transactions.

It’s important to note, however, that the three Vs are not the only important part of Laney’s analysis, according to Forbes. There are many other elements that play an integral role for big data in e-commerce, and businesses that learn to utilize each of these elements in data analysis can make significant progress.