2019 Retail Industry Report Offers Strategy & Surprises

Kimberly Surico |
 01/09/19 |
3 min read

Retailers have had to be quick on their feet to stay relevant the past few years. As competition intensifies, social data becomes more valuable to staying ahead. Understanding consumer love, and what drives it, can be the difference to a brand that’s struggling. And not paying close enough attention can be a brand’s downfall.

The NetBase Industry Report 2019: Retail explores where some of the biggest names in retail rank, and why – as well as what brands can learn from those at the top, bottom, and everywhere in between.

The report looks at global, English-language posts for the year ending on October 1, 2018 and measures volume of conversation, awareness (as a measure of earned impressions), reach (a measure of owned impressions), net sentiment, and brand passion as measured and analyzed through the NetBase platform.

Here’s a sneak peak.

Where is the Love?

With so many options available to them, delivering on consumer preferences is the most important part of your customer experience.

It’s crucial to know what they love most in general as you attempt to engage them from a human-to-human place, but it’s just as vital to know how they feel about your brand and your competitors. Then you can delve into where the distinctions lie.

For example, here’s a look at the Top 10 brands overall, comparing Net Sentiment by conversation topic:

When looking at direct Big Box competitors like Walmart, Best Buy, and Target you can see that Best Buy has the most positive sentiment with regard to Sales/Discounts, Online, and Price. Target, however, is the winner on the customer service front.

Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton and Burberry are both well loved in the Luxury category – except when we get to the topic of Customer Service, where Burberry is in some trouble. Understanding where you’re leading the pack or falling behind lets you look more closely at specific data to find out what’s behind the sentiment and problem-solve.

And what about the Top 10 overall? If you’re Target, or Amazon, or Gucci, do you not care that Etsy is so beloved, with only Price causing a bit of a wrinkle? You should! Etsy has come far in recent years, and has claimed the #3 spot in its first year on our list.

Unlikely Bedfellows

It’s smart to keep an eye on trends and topics industry-wide, not just within your category. That’s how you spot surprising adjacencies you can put to creative use.

For instance, with such love for Etsy, and for the Luxury category overall – which claimed 4 brand spots in our Top 10 – could there be a collaboration there? Where is the crossover, and how could brands in these differing categories unite their audiences and help each other?

This type of unlikely partnership is working for Lord & Taylor and Walmart – two stores you’d never expect to work together at first glance. But the pairing not only helps both brands compete against ecommerce Goliath Amazon, it could help Lord & Taylor recover from a -1 Net Sentiment score after a data breach earlier in the year.

Brands Beware

Speaking of brand crises… More than one brand found themselves in hot water over the past year, at least with regard to consumer passion.

When consumers feel strongly about your brand, you want those feelings to be on the positive end of the spectrum. Unfortunately, if you don’t monitor social data carefully, you may discover things have gone in the opposite direction.

Perhaps Nike meant to cause an uproar by making Colin Kaepernick the face of a recent campaign. It certainly got people talking (and burning their gear). But while they’ve maintained a top brand in the Athletic category, they did drop 14 places in our rankings – and out of the Top 10 as well.

Maybe they can take the hit – or maybe they’ve given a challenger brand just what they need to gain an edge. Time, and social, will tell.

Who else lost big points by failing to account for consumer sentiment? One popular sporting goods brand definitely did – even while another athletic apparel company barely bumped on their CEO’s scandalous departure. Find out who by reading the full report!

Also find out which brand partnership helped a Big Box brand overcome a political dilemma, which brand is winning with pizza, and which clothing company is benefiting from putting quality goods, ethical factories and transparency at the heart of their brand mission.

It’s all inside the NetBase Industry Report 2019: Retail. If your brand isn’t on the list, surely one of your competitors is. Use these insights to jump start your 2019 competitive strategy – and let us know how we can help!

Want to learn more about what social analytics can do for your brand? Reach out!


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