Once upon a time, retail was a one-sided conversation, with companies dictating trends, points of purchase, even price. Today, it’s an always-on, multiplatform model that counts on social media to understand consumers—wherever they are and on whatever channel they buy. We asked big data experts: how can social media analytics and retail data elevate the consumer experience?
Professor, Xinmei Zhang and Yongge Dai, and professor, marketing, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Social media and retail analytics elevate the customer experience in several ways:
Social media facilitates what consumers, as human beings, fundamentally want—engagement, connection and shared experiences. Analytics supplements and makes up for consumer deficiencies by remembering which brands consumers like, what they bought last time and so on. The former taps emotions; the latter makes up for cognitive deficiencies.
Our global research shows that shoppers are looking for retailers to exceed expectations and deliver superior service and efficacy. Increasingly, brands are seeking to mine social and retail data to understand needs and preferences of shoppers. Social data can be extremely useful in nurturing followers that have already formed bonds with your product or brand. We believe it can also be effective in better understanding influencers and prevailing sentiment. This type of data is directional and can be leveraged for new or repeat customers and purchases. At the other end of the spectrum, retail data can be used to validate marketing strategies and uncover potential opportunities of gaps.