New IDC Retail Insights Enterprise Socialytics Model Empowers Retailers to Apply Customer Insight to Every Part of their Business

FRAMINGHAM, MA, July 18, 2012 – A recently released IDC Retail Insights report identifies best practices and opportunities for applying social media analytics, coined “socialytics” by IDC, across all core retail business processes. This new report, Socialytics: Enabling the Social Business of Retail (Document #GRI235658) draws on an in-depth six-month research program involving three US retailers and two leading socialytics software vendors. The information gathered during the six-month project, combined with prior research, led to the creation of IDC Retail Insights’ Retail Enterprise Socialytics model.

"Social retailers – those who harness insights from analyzing what their customers and other consumers are saying about them and their competitors in the digital universe – have the tools to make better decisions than their competitors," said Greg Girard, Program Director, Merchandising Strategies and Retail Analytics, IDC Retail Insights. "We found use cases throughout retailing–in marketing, customer service, merchandising, product development, store operations, ecommerce, store operations, and customer order fulfillment, where bringing socialytics insights to bear can lead to better outcomes. Specifically, socialytics adds value wherever retailers need to personalize their offer, gain insights to improve their strategies and tactics, and create community."

Based on overseeing three case studies and interviewing the study's five participants, the IDC Retail Insights research team recommends that retailers consider the following as they begin or continue their social media analytics programs:

A social media analytics strategy should be developed as an enterprise- wide framework even as a socialytics capability is incubated and developed with a narrow focus. .

Socialytics can inform decisions beyond marketing in merchandising, commerce, and fulfillment. Actionable insights from socialytics range from marketing campaigns and product design and quality, to store operations and design and competitive differentiation, among others.

Better decisions from socialytics depend on how well its insight is incorporated within each process's decision management framework and the company's enterprise retail intelligence framework.

Useful insight from socialytics depends on capabilities for harvesting, organizing, and analyzing structured and unstructured data from varied sources in volumes and at velocities unlike those of enterprise data, and syndicated data, common today.

The forefront of socialytics capabilities will evolve quickly; evermore-nettlesome use cases for it will evolve apace.

Retail Enterprise Socialytics Model

Based on its six-month research program and earlier work, the IDC Retail Insights research team produced a model for guiding organizational and methodological decisions for developing retail socialytics capabilities. The model provides a framework to help retailers:

Align social media analytics to the insight needs of fulfillment, commerce, merchandising, and marketing processes with brand strategy and present these insights within each process' decision management framework.

Design four core socialytics capabilities—harvest data, organize it, analyze it, and measure and report insights to meet needs of core processes.

Understand sentiments, directionality, virality, influence, and other measures of signals about a retail brand’s position in the digital universe.

Incorporate social media insights into a common retail intelligence repository.

Provide the analytical foundation to enable next best actions across the enterprise based on such understanding.

“The disparity between the speed and strength of consumer sentiments spreading across social networks and the limits of what retailers have to track these sentiments, puts retailers at the risk of losing control of their brand, the loyalty of their best customers, market share, revenue, and margins,” continued Girard. “Our enterprise socialytics model will help retailers effectively ready themselves to understand, react, and ideally engage their consumers in this brave new world.”

To learn more about this report, please access Greg Girard's previously recorded webcast called, Applying Social Media Analytics in Retail at: http://bit.ly/Lo09TC. For additional information about this research, or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Greg Girard, Julie Crotty at 978-877-0053 or julie@attunecommunications.com. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact insights@idc.com; reporters should email julie@attunecommunications.com.

About IDC Retail Insights

IDC Retail Insights assists retail businesses and IT leaders, as well as the suppliers who serve them, in making more effective technology decisions by providing accurate, timely, and insightful fact-based research and consulting services. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of industry experience, our global research analyzes and advises on business and technology issues facing the retail industry. International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology market. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology, media, research, and events company. For more information, please visit www.idc-ri.com, email info@idc-ri.com, or call 508-935-4490. Visit the IDC Retail Insights Community at http://idc-insights-community.com/retail.