Editor’s Note: Retail Trends From INNOVATE 2011
4. Experiment with sentiment analysis. This process, which enables retailers to analyze consumers' online comments about their brands in an effort to gather general sentiment towards them, is becoming more popular. Charming Shoppes' Bass, for example, said he works with a company called Clarabridge that performs natural language queries to track online sentiments, and then ties that data back into Charming Shoppes' databases. "We overlay this data over our purchase data, so we can track how much more a customer who gives us a 10 is worth to us than a customer who gives us a three. We then market to these groups accordingly."
5. Try using Facebook Credits or virtual goods incentives for customer acquisition and retention. Retailers are beginning to understand the power of social gaming and how it can be incorporated into their lead generation or customer acquisition programs, said Jay Feitenger, founder of digital marketing agency StringCan Interactive. Feitenger spoke at a session examining Facebook Credits, a virtual currency that enables consumers to buy virtual goods and services in games and apps on Facebook. "Currently, 53 percent of Facebook's 600 million users are playing social games — that's huge," Feitenger said. "As a result, retailers are starting to use Facebook Credits to reward and acquire customers."