Rejuvenate your Retail Strategy with Social Listening

Rejuvenate your Retail Strategy with Social Listening

Nurin Nazifa Bte Mohd Yusoff
8 September 2019
While social media may be commonly known as an essential aspect of communication and marketing strategies, many underestimate its potential when it comes to increasing product demand and sales. This is especially so in the cosmetics industry, where social media has changed the way consumers are interacting with brands. By understanding the what’s and why’s of consumer purchases, companies can make better business decisions – such as which products to introduce, promote or stock up on.  

With social listening, brands can unlock millions of online conversations to learn more about their consumers’ needs and demands. Think of it as one big focus group!  With various social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, consumers are able to voice their opinions online almost instantaneously. Meltwater Social can enable your company to view conversations and insights across multiple social channels all on one platform, keeping you on top of your brand mentions, competitors and ever-changing industry trends.

So let’s put our game faces on to see how we can use social listening to boost product innovation and sales in the cosmetics industry: 


Sales numbers are only skin deep

You’re only scratching the surface when you focus on revenue numbers. Companies tend to focus only on internal data, and as a result, they miss out on the wealth of external data that can help them better guide their business decisions. One way to mine this external data and find out why some products are performing better than others is social listening.

Social listening lets you observe and understand customers’ perceptions towards your store’s different offerings, including why they decided to purchase one item over the other. You will be able to gather insights on which product lines to keep and promote more aggressively, as well as which ones require more attention.

Cosmetic retail chains such as Sephora carry a variety of brands and products in their stores, from skincare and makeup to hair care products. As an aggregator of beauty products, it can be time-consuming and complicated to monitor news and social mentions of each individual brand. 

With Meltwater’s social listening tool, brands like Sephora could benefit from creating separate searches for each brand or product to monitor their social media mentions and assess their performances. All search results can then be presented in one dashboard, letting you view your findings and insights at a glance. 

For example, if Sephora wants to analyse their latest partnerships with skincare brands in Southeast Asia, one way that they can measure the performance of each brand is to calculate the share-of-voice using Meltwater Social.

By benchmarking brands against each other, we are able to observe which brands of skincare were receiving more social coverage than the others. To get a more in-depth understanding of the nature of these conversations, you can also carry out sentiment analysis which assigns a positivity score to each mention. Here are the overall positivity scores for the earlier brands mentioned:

Positivity Scores for Skincare brands at Sephora (July 2019)

You can also view the sentiment breakdown by each social media platform for each individual brand, as shown below:

Hence, other than just looking at the number of products being sold, it helps to compare products against each other and understand why some products are more in demand than others. 


Find out what’s on everyone’s lips 

Imagine the world of social media as one giant wishlist. Everyone is sharing what they are looking for, what they want and what they need. Looking at your customers’ needs and demands can assist your company’s product innovation team in generating new product ideas. It can also help your buyers’ team decide what new products or brands to introduce to your stores.  

There are a few ways to pull out insights on your customers’ deepest desires using a Social Listening tool. One way is to curate special search queries which make use of unique phrases such as “I need” or “I wish” together with your own brand keywords. 

Here are just some examples of demands and wishes we were able to get for Sephora through Meltwater Social:

Other than looking at individual mentions, you can also generate a word cloud to detect any trending themes:

Looking at all the most commonly used keywords gives you an idea of what netizens are talking about in relation to your brand. You will be able to learn about what consumers find attractive about your brand and its products or what they are continually asking for, thus, allowing you to strategise on how to meet their demands in the future.

In the case of Sephora, it seems that a lot of consumers are talking about Sephora’s latest Marvel-themed makeup collection. Deeper analysis showed us that these mentions include consumers expressing their interest to purchase this latest product.  

Look into crowdsourcing

Other than creating unique searches, another way to pick up new product ideas would be through crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing involves tapping into user-generated content to pull out any news product ideas or suggestions. This can be done by hosting social media campaigns and contests or creating a forum page asking consumers to share their ideas.  

Makeup brands such as Glossier are one of the few examples of beauty companies tapping on ideas from their consumers to drive product innovation. Through its blog posts and Instagram polls, Glossier listens intently to its consumers on social media to find out what types of products they desire. Hence, through consumer feedback and suggestions, it can help your brand decide what products to introduce or improve upon in their upcoming collections. 

Create the next big thing

Many retailers themselves have a house brand where they manufacture their own products and market them in store. When mapping out their pipeline of new products, it is important that product marketers are in tune with the demands of their target audience. With social listening, these marketers are able to predict upcoming trends and create products that fly off the shelves by analysing existing data available in the digital space. 

As major social platforms are introducing ecommerce into their ecosystem, more consumers would be sharing their opinions and engaging in conversations about products they see. What does this mean for businesses? There is a host of important insights to be mined on social media!

In this example, Meltwater identified the core functions of skincare products consumers were most excited about by analysing the volume of social mentions tagged to the individual functions. Next, we analysed the social mentions that associated the top skin care functions with a specific brand name. This tells marketers how their brand is positioned in the minds of consumers, and if their existing product lines are meeting the needs of consumers. These insights are valuable in guiding product marketers with their next product launch.

Drive your decisions with data

The rise of social commerce platforms would encourage more consumers to share product reviews and opinions online. It will be a huge opportunity missed when consumer brands fail to mine that trove of data available. 

By incorporating social listening into your business strategy, you too can derive meaningful insights on your customers’ demands to boost your product marketing and sales efforts. So why not give Meltwater Social a try and look your best at your next product launch!



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