Data Analytics Extends Barnes & Noble Insights

As more retailers subscribe to data analytics solutions to keep abreast of consumer demands, some are constrained by the amount of loading time required to track store inventory data. Barnes & Noble, a pioneer of the term “book superstore” and today among the largest e-Commerce sites, utilizes “big data” analytics market innovator Aster Data’s Teradata Aster MapReduce Platform, which delivers new analytic applications with high-performance and pre-packed pattern, path and graph SQL MapReduce analytic modules.

A recent webinar titled “How A Retail Giant Is Making Big Gains With Big Data Analytics” showcased how Barnes & Noble can track the performance of numerous products. Barnes & Noble VP of Retention and Loyalty Marketing, Marc Parrish, shared the challenges his company faced prior to implementing the retail solution. “We had a series of approximately 13 databases used as data warehouses,” he said. “The excess data generated from separate parts of the company required separate silos for each area.”

Barnes & Noble utilizes the Teradata Aster MapReduce Platform to access which products perform the best. For example, with a better understanding of book titles that are outperforming, cycle development now is more rapid, giving the retailer a better idea of how well a title is performing after its launch. By tracking this information,   author’s are given options on how to promote their written works. Additionally, Barnes & Noble better tracks store membership to analyze how well the company is converting members.

Products from Tableau Software, a business intelligence software provider, allow Barnes & Noble to secure additional data such as store sales performance so that C-level and other management can track sales more efficiently and plan accordingly. “Our business intelligence team has moved from purely business intelligence in a micro strategy to more data extraction tasks,” said Parrish. “Among the benefits, we can now determine what may be slowing the system.”


Barnes & Noble also uses Tableau to assess categories by region as well as track stock prices and headlines via external RSS feeds. This, combined with the Aster Data application, gives the retailer better response rates from the data, decreasing the amount of development time for reports.

“Retailers often think only of volume when ‘big data’ is mentioned,” said Stephanie McReynolds, Director of Product Marketing for Aster Data, “but the main point is less about data volume and more about the speed of data analysis, variety and the complexity of the data you want to present.”

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