When clients buy products from e-commerce services, specific information describing the purchase is saved in the merchant’s IT system, and additional information from external service providers is mixed into the data.
Example of information saved in the merchant's IT system
- The amount value of the sale, e.g., $24.12;
- The products or services bought, e.g., “yellow t-shirt”;
- The payment method used to make the purchase, e.g., “Visa”;
- The client’s email addresses, e.g., “firstname.lastname@example.org”; and
- The delivery address, e.g., “1231 St., NewYork, NY10010”.
Mixing in information
Before attempting to interpret the information, this data must be processed and converted into a format that is more suitable for data analysis. For instance:
- Addresses must be geocoded to obtain the latitude, longitude, and other geographical information;
- Text must be transformed into matrices of numbers; and
- Amounts in different currencies must be converted to a single currency, e.g., USD or EUR.