RSR Research: The Power of Micro Sentiment
Through a special arrangement, what follows is an excerpt of an article from Retail Paradox, RSR Research’s weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers, presented here for discussion.
When it comes to using sentiment as a new demand signal, retailers are learning that they need to analyze what people are saying about them in order to get early indications whether their strategies and campaigns are working or not. It’s possible for retail analysts to get good clues as to whether or not they need to adjust something they are doing in the marketplace if they get early enough sentiment signals from consumers, for example, via Facebook or Twitter.
Capturing sentiment is part of the bigger challenge to be able to track consumers’ "omni-channel" paths-to-purchase. "Click ‘n brick" retailers need to use what marketing people call multi-channel attribution.
A study, Consumer Complaining: Attributions and Identities, from Cathy Goodwin, Georgia State University and Susan Spiggle, University of Connecticut, describes it this way: "Attribution theory can be applied generally to ‘processes whereby people attribute characteristics, intentions, feelings and traits to the objects in their social world’. … [There are] two types of attributions — dispositional and intentional. People make intentional attributions directly from observed behavior; observers begin to make sense of their world by speculating about why others perform certain actions… intentions offer cues to dispositions, the more stable, underlying components of the actor’s personality which persist across a variety of situations. These dispositional attributions often take the form of ascribing to the observed individual a set of ‘broad’ traits, ‘despite the scant empirical evidence for their existence.’"
Marketing analysts use attribution data to try and understand the offline impact driven by online marketing and advertising. (From their point of view, that may be the number one reason for retailers to develop a mobile app for consumers, since it generates the metrics needed to help measure the path to purchase.)
I spoke to a group of retail financial executives recently in Dallas, and pressed the point that understanding these non-transactional metrics is critical to a successful omni-channel strategy, because all paths to purchase are not equal. There is no "one way" to enable a buy anywhere/get anywhere model — consumers use different retailers differently. (An obvious example is the difference between how a consumer uses a Macy’s vs. a TJX store.) In order for CFOs to support the capital spend needed to modernize the company for buy anywhere/get anywhere retailing, it must first be clear what paths to purchase the consumer is most likely to want optimized. And a good way to know that is by attribution analysis.
- The Power of Sentiment – RSR Research
- Retail’s New Power Duo – RSR Research
- "Consumer Complaining: Attributions and Identities," (Abstract) – Association for Consumer Research
What are the main hurdles to employing non-transactional metrics to drive omni-channel strategies? What value do you give attribution analysis, particularly in understanding the online-to-store path to purchase?