How Amazon optimizes Big Data

Snigdho Dip Howlader
3 min readJan 16, 2021

Amazon is a multi-national technology company founded in 1994, situated in Seattle, Washington, United States. Today, it is one of the biggest companies in the world, being worth more than $ 1.7 trillion in 2020. Amazon has various services, but the most prominent service they provide is their e-commerce website, So the real question is, what were the factors behind Amazon’s success? One of the answers to that, is data.

Today, and for many of the last few years, Amazon has made use of every bit of data it could gather from it’s customer base. The kind of data that is gathered from customers is variant, robust and large. What products a user buys, how often they buy them, what category these products belong to, etc. are all examples of data that Amazon makes use of to improve their recommendation engine.

The results of the recommendation engine

The Amazon recommendation engine is extremely powerful. With having gathered data for so long, it is easier for them to predict supplies and demands from customers. Amazon implements advanced algorithms that create a unique dataset for each of the customers. And for every product that is bought, a link is formed between them. It then analyzes for patterns or trends among these products, to suggest or recommend products in the future. Needless to say, it is definitely easier to recommend to long time customers over short time ones, as they are more likely to have larger datasets of the products they have bought. By doing this, customers have their time made more efficient when looking for products. The recommendation engine is probably one of the strongest aspects of the Amazon market website.

But that is not all, there are other forms of data that Amazon makes use of for improving their systems universally. This includes:

  1. Vocal recordings from Alexa: Alexa is Amazon’s Artificial Intelligence companion device, used for a better experience in terms of quality of life. Amazon has admitted that they hold on to the recordings collected from users. These recordings are not only used to make the Artificial Intelligence behind Alexa smarter and more interactive, but also being used by Amazon web servers to learn more about the daily activities of people. This is a form of data mining, something Amazon invests in a lot for better profitability.
  2. One-click Ordering: This is now a patented feature of Amazon. What it does is rather simple, as Big Data has shown that customers have a tendency to look for other alternatives to a product if there are chances of delay, this feature utilizes this behavior of an individual. Once the payment method, shipping address and first order are placed by a customer, the one-click order feature is enabled. If chosen, the customer has 30 minutes to decide on that particular purchase, after that, the product is automatically listed via the payment method and shipping address that was initially entered.
  3. Amazon Go: A chain of convenience stores without being checked out by human cashiers or a check out station, these stations are partially automated. These stores collect the data from cameras to utilize it later for their computer vision algorithms for better placement of products.

The fact that Amazon has been able to utilize the data it has gathered over the years is one of its strongest factors of success. The modern world is very data driven, and Amazon and their head, Jeff Bezos were able to take advantage of that. Further down the future, it would be an understatement to say that customer/client data will prove to have an even more significant role for the success of products or client based services.

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Snigdho Dip Howlader

A computer science student with interest in data and analytics. Hobbies include illustration, writing and music.