Debenhams, B&Q unconvinced by social media analytics

By Sooraj Shah
13 Feb 2014 View Comments
Social Media Manager

Retailers Debenhams and B&Q are not convinced of the value of social media analytics,despite heavy investment from both firms in other areas of analytics.

Speaking at the British Retail Consortium's Customer Insight Conference 2014 in London today, Caroline Pollard, customer strategy and insight analyst at Debenams said that social media was not an area of the business that the company sees the full value of.

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"We haven't really looked into social media tracking as we're not sure what you get out of it and what it can be built on. Especially at Debenhams where our [board] wants numbers, figures and concrete data, and there is not a lot of buy-in to get data on what customers feel about the company," she said.

Pollard added that a lot of social media is full of negativity for brands, and that it may contain some useful elements as long as there is a balance of positive and negative comments.

On the same panel discussion, B&Q's director of customer insight, Mike Coshott, said that many vendors have pitched social media solutions to the retailer, but that none of the products seemed to have an end focus.

"We've not had enough confidence in the people who use social media and understand it. It depends on the business objectives, and using data to solve a specific problem, [with social media] we don't know if we are going to get a solution," he said.

Coshott added that he is always "moderately sceptical" when a product is put in front of him, but said that he will give it a chance as long as it fits business objectives, and can be used to build a roadmap from.

Ruth Spencer, director of digital and loyalty at Boots UK, explained that the firm does track social media and sentiment, but joked that the brand name ‘Boots', named after founder John Boot meant that the firm had to first filter all messages regarding footwear, making it harder to determine the company's customers.

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