March 03, 2014
Effective Use of Social Data
By: Marjan Baghaie

A central problem facing many businesses today is not a lack of data, but the lack of a clear, actionable plan for what to do with the data. This is particularly the case for social data. During the past few years, the attitude towards social data—especially among consumer-facing companies—has gone from “Social data is just hype,” to “Ok, we have it. Now, what do we do with it?” In a series of six blog posts, we highlight an approach to help answer this question, with a focus on social data in the retail industry. The approach highlighted is applicable and can be extended to other industries as well.

One smart way to begin building an approach is to go back to the core of the industry being examined. In retail, there are three main stakeholders--retailers, customers and suppliers. The only way for all to benefit is if additional value is added so that one entity doesn’t have to lose for the other to win. As you may have guessed, when used effectively, social data can provide this win-win situation.

To evaluate how to leverage social data to create additional value, we can start by looking at how retailers have traditionally been delivering value, and then examine how social data can be used to enhance those values.

Some dimensions under which retailers have traditionally been adding value and/or been seeking to differentiate themselves includes:

  1. Convenience
  2. Product selection
  3. Information and expertise
  4. Price and efficiency
  5. Customer service
  6. Customer segmentation

Each retailer might be more focused on one or a few of these to create value and differentiate itself from others.

While there are certainly other ways to deliver value, for illustrative purposes, in this series we will cover how retailers can use social data to enhance these six “traditional pillars of value”.

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