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Some insights on the Big Data Barnes & Noble experience


Barnes & Noble is one of the 500 largest companies in the world. It operates 1350 bookstores (730 stores in cities and 630 in campuses) and the largest online bookstore, with roughly 10 million customers, sells 300 million books per year, and offers a 6 million references catalog.

The company goals are doing better than the competition (especially better than Amazon), and dominate the eBook market. For this the company aims to thoroughly analyze and control its activities through its various sales channels, and develop a personalized approach to customers through more sophisticated segmentation, tailored marketing programs, better coordination of customer experiences through channels with more responsive websites, recommendation engines online more optimized, and more relevant service store.

Barnes & Noble has faced several technical challenges, such as consolidate nine independent data silos, integrate data from different channels, manage multi-structured data, cope with the increase in the volume (especially related to web) and also develop analytical skills beyond a BI focus on reporting. For this, the company has chosen Teradata Aster nCluster solution to manage its analytical platform to support its new recommendation engine, to treat his web log (20 times faster), to analyze all data (Coremetrics, SAP, bookstore sales, online sales, plus 13 other sources) much easier (model churn runs in 20 'instead of 5:00), to dramatically improve the productivity of analysts, and then to track how customers use their Nook (reading tablet marketed by Barnes & Noble in the United States since 2009).

The new recommendation engine for example enables dynamic clients and affinity products scoring. Actually it is for identifying all visitors (loyal and new customers), to take advantage of an analysis of 186 million pairs of products, maintain valuation models or segmentations response taking into account the customer changes or various environmental factors, and implement these models for all guests, for all the channels or event communications (customer initiatives or Barnes & Noble).

Aster solution has also improved data processing navigation web site visitors, including the identification of sessions, textual analysis and study of the course. Marketers are now better equipped to manage their problems (abandoned cart, pricing, content optimization, custom banners, etc...). For example the manager of products related to the Nook, limited its analysis in terms of attrition because it takes 6:00 with the old system to treat 240 million lines and all nested queries necessary. Now that the same analysis is done in 20 minutes, the manager has no more limit constraints.

Marc Parrish, Vice President Customer Loyalty and Retention of Barnes & Noble, sums up the situation by saying "When I arrived at B & N, the system would not allow us to have to many people free access to the data, because it would not have had the ability to carry the load. Now it's totally changed. We democratized the data. "

To go further on this case, you can effectively listen to the video interview of Mark Parrish, via the following link (video 4 '):


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