Leveraging Social Media Analytics to Benefit the End Customer

Manoj Sharma
Founder & CEO-Forespire
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Manoj Sharma
The other day, my wife called me to pick up paneer on my way back from work. Usually, I do Indian food shopping at a specialty grocery store. This time, however, I stopped by at Costco and purchased paneer – and also rasmalai, stocked on the same shelf.
One out of every 75 people in California is an Indian, and most of them live in the Silicon Valley, so it may not strike you as very surprising that Costco, the 2nd largest retailer in the U.S, would stock paneer and rasmalai in its local stores.

However, Costco only recently started catering to local Indian preferences and till now left a lot of money on the table by not stocking such goods. What took it so long?

Generally, a company that wishes to introduce a product (such as paneer) in a new market through a retailer (such as Costco) would conduct surveys and focus groups to determine the viability of the business, and then make the proposal to the retailer. The retailer would verify through its own research and then the product would make it to the shelf. So, someone has to want to sell a product in a specific market first, and then the demand for it is verified (product first, then demand). This is backward – if Indians need paneer, Costco should learn about it and then seek companies that make paneer (demand first, then product). Those companies will gladly setup their side of the supply chain in order to meet this demand. Why is it not like that? How does one get to a more efficient process?
There is a new, already massive, and growing source of information that retailers can now harness to understand what people want and where they want it – social media.

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Reader's comments(1)
1:Glad to hear your thoughts, we have been thinking about social analytics on the retail supply chain side.
Posted by: Ruben Garner - 29th Oct 2013
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