How retailers can use big data across departments to get ahead

9 February 2022 | 2033 Shares

Digital consumer intelligence for brands and retailers. Source: Brandwatch

There is simply no fooling today’s consumer.  At the click of a mouse or tap of the screen, customers can access a wealth of information about your brand that can – and does – have a significant impact on final buying decisions. Your web and app development teams can tweak the online shopping experience to the nth degree, but when would-be customers read poor reviews or pick up on negative press about your company, cart abandonment becomes more and more common.

In many cases, a brand’s reputation can be rescued very simply: responding to online comments and news events is often all it takes to turn the tide of opinion. A company’s portfolio of products and services can also be strengthened by learning what negative reviewers want. Analyzing reviews across hundreds of sites helps companies understand their weaknesses and strengths, and identify gaps in the market or new markets altogether. This is essential intelligence for the whole business – for product development leaders to marketing and sales strategists.

How to analyze customer reviews for strategic insights

Watch this short video to find out how businesses improve their ranking, discover buyer needs, and sell more products by analyzing reviews across hundreds of sites.

For large retailers, the influence of the online world has historically been less dramatic: footfall and storefront presence helped bring customers in and got them buying. But with an increasing prevalence of online shopping (that became something of a hobby to millions while locked down or self-isolating), the noisy internet has the same effect on small and large brands alike.

Gathering people’s opinions is a big part of running a retail business — after all, who doesn’t want to know what people are saying about them? But today’s technology platforms go much further than scraping social media to search for brand mentions. By using more powerful tools, companies can see what people are saying about their supply chain, business partners, and vital influences, like perceptions of CSR activities, for instance. Plus, those same tools show where other companies are offering better deals, which influencers are pushing what, and whose carbon footprint is through the roof. When aggregated, this forms intelligence that can help steer strategic decisions and give companies an edge in the eyes of consumers.

For the ethical consumer, the big picture around a brand is important, and the internet is a place where it’s easy to find out the real story behind a company’s manufacturing plants, how it treats its employees, or where it’s sourcing raw materials. Brands work hard to make sure they are trusted organizations in their customers’ lives by improving the way they operate globally. The story customers hear should reflect that work.

In short, brands need to be aware of what their customers are aware of, and who or what is driving the conversation. It is technology that helps uncover who and what retail customers are listening to, and what the current sentiment and opinions are on all matters that concern a brand and its competitors. With the right toolkit, companies can have a 360-view on the risks and opportunities presented within the consumer conversation online, to help protect and grow their brands.

Social listening, therefore, must get broader. It needs to encompass thousands of sources that must be scanned constantly for information that might seem, at first glance, irrelevant. But the nature of technology is that so-called “big data” (simply, lots and lots of information) yields value at scale. The more information smart algorithms are given, the better. Once data is gathered, it can be queried multiple times, having questions asked of it that inform a brand’s decision-makers at a strategic, long-term level. That’s only possible if both the market and the brand’s online presence are examined in the context of one another, and most traditional marketing technology is just that: silo-ed in marketing.

The underlying technology stack from Brandwatch is used by organizations of all sizes in retail and across industries – including the likes of Unilever, BMW, Nestlé, and The Body Shop – to inform the entire business. That’s because your entire company (supply chain, distribution, brick-and-mortar presence, messaging, and…everything) is what’s being examined by your customers and customers-to-be. Data is pulled by Brandwatch’s SaaS platform from among the noise of the internet’s background chatter in real time, so queries give updated answers on a second-by-second basis. That gives companies the “right here, right now” information they need, and the bigger-picture data that describes market trends, demand analysis, prevailing sentiments, and every type of long-term indicator of use to a brand that’s building loyalty.

To learn more about this latest generation of technology, head over to Brandwatch to read more and book an online meeting to discuss your specific needs.