First Rule

The first rule of modern retail? Know thy customer

Ever wish you could peer inside your customers’ brains to figure out exactly what it takes to accelerate buying behavior? What makes them tick? What makes them reel? And most importantly, how can you lock down their loyalty? 

The answers to all of these questions already exist. The trick is to know where to look for them, and critically, how to look for them.  

Social media: A data gold mine (for those who know how to dig)

There are an estimated 2.46 billion users on social media, and they have a lot to say. Every minute, there are an estimated 4 million likes on Facebook alone. Every second, Twitter users collectively send 6,000 tweets. Much of this traffic is openly available on the web. contributor Dennis Hung may have put it best:

“If Big Data is the water pouring out of your faucet, then social media is the reservoir that stream comes from,” Hung wrote. 

“Start with your own social media pages, but then branch out to your sellers’.”

The problem for brand manufacturers is cutting through the noise, and sifting out data that is actually relevant to their business goals – creating that “faucet,” so to speak. That said, there is an easy way to solve this problem. It’s all about prioritizing. Yes, social is a gold mine, but it’s not the vastness of the data that makes it as much. After all, gold is valuable even in small quantities.

Rather than trying to make sense of every possible insight on social, brands need to prioritize by analyzing what their customers are directly saying about them. Start at the obvious source (your brand’s social media pages), but then branch out to a not-as-obvious, but equally essential source: your sellers’ social media pages.

This data is often publicly available and will provide additional insights about your products. Customers, especially dissatisfied customers, tend to reflexively vocalize their discontent across the social media page of whoever they bought the product from. If you’re monitoring those pages, you suddenly tap into a significant source of potential customer thoughts, bringing you one step closer to understanding your target audience. 

The same is true across all channels

Customers will voice their pain points (or their appreciation) wherever it is most convenient for them. This might be on social media channels, but it could also be in your sellers’ product-review pages, on review sites such as Yelp or on shopping forums dedicates to certain types of products.  

While it’s important to collect as much of this information as possible, the most important place to start is at the point of sale. Studies have found that anywhere between 70 percent and 90 percent of consumers will base their purchasing behavior on what they read in online reviews. In other words, these sources of feedback will likely have the greatest impact on future sales. It’s essential that brand manufacturers see this information so that they can make sense of it. For instance, they may be able to identify sellers that seem to be cultivating the best customer experience.

“What are prospective buyers saying about the competition?”

Equally important, what are prospective buyers saying about the direct competition? If you can highlight what it is about the competition that seems to be pushing them over the finish line before your brand, you can adjust your methods to improve conversions. 

That leaves just one question: How do you do this as quickly and as efficiently as possible? Our recommendation is to use a best-in-class solution that was built specifically for this purpose – such as Channel Reports and Product Research & Analytics from PriceSpider

In the short term, this capability facilitates swift corrective action on a case-by-case basis. Long term, it provides something far more invaluable: The depth of field to see what all of your customers are saying about your business. And that is the closest you can to get to seeing inside their heads. 

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