Understanding IRL Purchases with Sentiment Analysis

Niraj Sharma |
 09/06/19 |
4 min read

Understanding IRL Purchases with Sentiment Analysis

Amazon has unquestionably conquered eCommerce. And now it’s taking what some might consider a step backwards to become master of all things brick and mortar. Does the online behemoth know something most don’t? Yes. And you can get on Amazon’s level by understanding in real life (IRL) purchases with the help of sentiment analysis.

According to Jeff Bezos, “Amazon is still small.” Yes, he really said that. He wasn’t lying – 90% of sales are still happening at brick and mortar stores, apparently. Who knew?

This explains the Amazon Go concept, at least in part.

Would Sentiment Analysis Have Predicted Amazon Go Stores?

Bezos believes customers don’t often know what they want and it takes daring businesses to sort it out for them:

For example, smart speaker Echo with voice assistant Alexa was released in 2014. At the time, Bezos says, a customer would not have even known to want an anything of the sort.

“No customer was asking for Echo. This was definitely us wandering. Market research doesn’t help. If you had gone to a customer in 2013 and said ‘Would you like a black, always-on cylinder in your kitchen about the size of a Pringles can that you can talk to and ask questions, that also turns on your lights and plays music?’ I guarantee you they’d have looked at you strangely and said ’No, thank you,” Bezos writes in his 2018 letter.

So, is Amazon Go, Bezos latest gamble, something inspired out of thin air? It doesn’t seem to be, as self-checkout has been growing in popularity for a while:

sentiment analysis shows that self-checkout has been growing in popularity for a while

But these stores do go beyond that. Although they’re basically self-checkout stores, they also track your every move via your phone login to Amazon as you enter the store. Talk about capturing amazing consumer intel in the name of convenience!

basically self-checkout stores, they also track your every move via your phone login to Amazon as you enter the store

And it truly is convenient – people love it.

Consumers love Amazon Go stores

Brick and Mortar Digital Transition

Could this brick and mortar digital transition, in general, have been predicted using social listening? We’ll leave that for your office water cooler debate to decide, but offer this: Looking back at what was available even five years ago, and then at what we have today by way of IRL sentiment analysis, really defies comparison. So maybe not back then, but now? We’d put a wager on that one.

Today, businesses can upload structured and unstructured data sources for aggregated analysis in one easy-to-use platform. Data that can include in-store purchase insight and combine it with not only online purchases but also sentiment harnessed on social media channels, forums, blogs, news and review sites, CRM and content management software and that list is expanding all the time.

Business can pretty immediately do lots with their integrated data, including:

  • Capture all customer conversations across multiple channels to catch trends, spikes and unmet needs
  • Segment conversations by issues that matter to you such as customer care, location, author influence, and more
  • Engage directly with customers to deliver timely responses, improve customer satisfaction, offering personalized, purchase-based incentives to return to stores
  • Streamline business data for enhanced strategic planning and more accurate warehousing of in-store goods
  • Make faster, more informed decisions with a real-time consumer insight snapshots
  • Connect business operations directly to your target audience and capture real-time responses
  • Smash online vs IRL silos and have each working together with common insight, goals and internal incentives for success

But will all of that be enough to compete with Go? Maybe “compete” isn’t the right goal here.

Keeping Pace with Go . . . For Now, with Social Listening

Competing with the likes of “Go” will be tough. If it turns out Amazon has uncovered a model that works – and it seems to be working – the concept will send ripples through brick and mortar that will rumble like an earthquake. And only those businesses with the strongest digital foundations will be left standing.

Understanding your consumers’ appetite for “Go” type technology is important for forward planning. As is uncovering other key insight that you can use to beat Amazon at its own game. Or at least ensure your company’s solvency in five years.

Amazon isn’t the only one capable of capturing online data and using it to its own advantage to uncover IRL sentiment analysis that’s sort of hiding in plain sight. And even the AI capabilities it’s using in its Go stores – that is a powerful component of advanced next generation social listening. It all ties together to capture the overarching consumer experience.

Combining/uploading sales and other existing data to combine with social web insight for analysis in NetBase is one piece of the “staying on the cutting edge” puzzle, and AI Studio is another.

This first-to-market sentiment analysis offering, AI Studio, gives businesses the ability to auto-discover related themes without any sort of human intervention.

AI Studio, gives businesses the ability to auto-discover related themes without any sort of human intervention required

The tool combines machine learning, deep learning and expert systems delivering insights at speeds 5x faster than other solutions.

It may be your game changer in the long-run. And in the short run, your twofold focus must be on analyzing all existing consumer data insight and minding that last mile . . .

Amazon Prime Has Last Mile Locked Up Too

Lo and behold, Amazon is squeezing from this end as well. People love Prime. The eCommerce giant’s attention to last mile delivery has made it what it is today, at least in part.

How can you use this insight in your own brick and mortar shop? Offering free local delivery is one way, as-is building “free shipping” in to your purchase prices. People love free shipping:

People love free shipping

But your best bet isn’t some general guidance you’ll find in a blog (beyond overarching insight of course) – it’s hidden in the audience analytics and IRL sentiment analysis. It’s the customer experience data that will tell you precisely how your audience needs that last mile option to look.

“The last sentence of his shareholder letter — his 21st — summarizes Bezos’s M.O.: ‘It remains Day 1,’ he writes.” And the same is true for any brand.

Insight of this depth has never been more accurate and immediately available. Reach out and we’ll show you how granular your explorations can get. And how much better you can become at IRL sentiment analysis sleuthing when it comes to audience understanding.

And don’t forget to register for NetBase LIVE, heading to L.A. next month!

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