Datasets for returned merchandise (ecommerce)
July 17, 2014 10:21 PM   Subscribe

I need to get hold of datasets for online purchases, more specifically those that include product returns for a (self funded) project I'm working on.

I've contacted Amazon as a starting point, however they fobbed me off (albeit politely, saying they don't have any public facing data that they can share on the topic) - this was just a toe in the water based on a simple request.

I guess my question would be: Who should I address my request to (in a company); How should I frame it (to make the request as straight forward as possible); OR Would I be better off focusing on research companies and if so, which ones would you recommend? And, if there are any other resources available (particularly for North American companies) please let me know.

posted by a non e mouse to Education (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You might look through the data sets here and see if something works.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 12:19 AM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

In my experience getting datasets from companies required some kind of personal "in." Especially for large corporations, there's legal and technical issues involved with handing off data to somebody outside the company. Being a university researcher, with a vetted research proposal - funding agency deemed it worthy of funding, and university Institutional Review Board asserting that privacy will be protected and data will be kept secure - helps a lot.

Knowing somebody in the company who's senior manager level, or at least knows who to point your request to, is typically the starting point. What I've seen in U.S. university settings is that one of the researchers previously worked for the company, either as a consultant or employee, or somebody who knows both the researcher and a senior company person acts as a bridge between the two to get the ball rolling. Even then, there's layers of bureaucracy and different departments to go through, and it's unpredictable where you'll hit a snag, and you may still get a "No," just several months down the line.
posted by needled at 3:53 AM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

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