Retail social listening - stay ahead of the competition

It’s about knowing what’s happening next week, next month, next year. The retail sector never sleeps.

With a rapidly evolving and highly competitive landscape, retail brands must think smart to stay one step ahead. With the help of retail social listening, retailers across the world are making better decisions every day.

How can social listening inform your marketing strategy?

Adopt social listening to inspire consumers, increase awareness and stand out from competitors

By exploring consumer passions, perceptions and concerns, brands can tailor their messaging to connect with their audiences on a deeper level.

Nike used social listening to inspire their “Unlimited You” campaign. Thanks to listening, the brand was able to resonate with consumers by homing in on their feelings around the inability to overcome obstacles to reach their goals.


Following the campaign, Nike saw a notable spike in online mentions and an impressive rise in positive conversation sentiment to 93%.

Offer unparalleled customer service with real-time listening 

Waiting 24 hours for an email reply is no longer acceptable. Search Engine Watch claims that 53% of customers tagging a brand on Twitter expect a reply within the hour.

Response times [social listening for retail brands]

And a poor reaction time has a hugely negative impact.

26% of respondents surveyed would escalate their concern through other sources of information and 29% admit to sharing their unpleasant experience with family and friends. In the age of reviews and recommendations, this is detrimental to brands, particularly in the retail sector.

Social listening offers businesses the opportunity to not only be reactive but proactive.

Brands can set up alerts to manage crises and moreover - detect crises ahead of time. They can monitor conversation to understand the common complaints and adapt communication strategies accordingly.

As marketing and communications become more personalised, brands must build strong relationships with their consumer base, and social media is the prime platform for doing so. In fact, 90% of customers can be retained through good customer service.

Social media offers consumers a voice that will be heard. While this may concern some companies, with an effective communications strategy it becomes an opportunity. More than double the number of consumers use Twitter to advocate brands than to complain.

For retailers, owning social media accounts and not implementing social listening is the same as sharing a customer survey and not reading the answers.

Identify relevant and powerful (micro) influencers

Influencer Marketing is one of the most used industry buzz words of today.

Discount codes, branded hashtags, product placement, handle tagging; the possibility to gain visibility through influencer marketing is infinite. However, with an ever-expanding network of influencers, finding the right influencer is a challenge.

A study by Markerly recommends using a series of industry-relevant micro influencers (10,000 – 100,000 followers) not a super-influencer. While a social star with two million followers will reach more consumers, 90% of their audience may not engage because the content is irrelevant.

“We see micro-influencers get an average of two-to-five times more organic engagement per Instagram post, compared to those with more than 100,000 followers.”

[Chris Gonzalez,  CEO of Gnack - a social ad platform]


While engagement rates are interesting, it is imperative that retailers identify influencers by looking beyond engagement and follower credentials. Authenticity is critical to successful influencer campaigns. Brands must detect influencers that are relevant and trusted within their space. To assess authenticity, businesses can investigate several elements to ultimately ensure an effective campaign with hard conversions. All thanks to social listening tools.

Influencer Marketing [Social listening for retail brands]


Drive product innovation through social listening

For an industry driven by the opinions and views of the public, monitoring conversation is essential to product innovation.

Succeeding in a crowded marketplace means developing a product that outperforms that of competitors. Something that exceeds consumer expectation. For businesses that believe in the importance of product development, social media is a crucial source of insight and feedback. It represents the largest focus group in the world.

With the help of Linkfluence, a global cosmetics retailer explored the Korean social web to aid product development. The investigation included analysis of: content posted and shared, brand interactions, consumer behaviours, product feedback, application methods, trend drivers and evolution.

The result: development and launch of a brand new matte lipstick – our client was the first brand to respond to this consumer trend in Korea.

Catch the full case study here.

Explore social data to get to know your consumers

Delve deeper into audience profiling by going beyond core demographic data such as age and gender… By extracting job titles and exploring interests, brands can comprehensively profile their different audiences and drive targeted campaigns.

Radarly, our social listening platform, offers the ability to analyse audiences by location too. By filtering content based on location data, retailers can investigate the emotional triggers of different communities.

In 2016 we analysed Retailer Christmas Ads and explored regional reactions. Kevin the Carrot, the comical Aldi series, particularly suited the Scouse humour – the city of Liverpool discussed this advert substantially more than the other Christmas ads. Whereas, the city of London reacted more positively to #bustertheboxer by John Lewis.

Retailers can also use geographic data to understand consumer preferences and the perceptions of price and promotions in different areas to feed local sales strategies.

 Would you like to find out more? Please get in touch!

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