As the owner of an e-commerce store, you’ll no doubt be inundated with advice and tips on how to attract new customers to your store. It is essential to master the art of reeling in those shiny new customers — but that is actually the easy part.
Stop, Look and Listen – Sentiment Analysis in eCommerce
It’s really not that difficult to use the impressive arsenal of tools such as sentiment analysis we have at our disposal to draw people to your site like a kind of digital Pied Piper. However, what you really should be focusing on is keeping those customers once you have them.
As most business veterans will tell you, it’s easier to retain existing customers by keeping them happy than it is to get them back once they’ve moved on. But, how, exactly, is that done?
Gaining and retaining customer loyalty in a competitive marketplace is an art that involves keeping a number of balls in the air at all times.
In short, you’re only rewarded with customer loyalty when you’ve done everything possible to keep the customer happy and to make sure that your user experience is second to none. That’s all very well, I hear you cry, but how do I know if the customer is happy or not?
In 2021, your e-commerce store is most likely set up to request a review from your customers after every purchase – well done you. Reviews are a brilliant way of gathering feedback from your customers and collecting glowing testimonials for your website and your social media. Problem solved? Not really.
Who will leave you a review?
Unfortunately, only around 60% of e-commerce customers actually get around to leaving reviews for their purchases. This can be due to simple laziness or lack of interest. But, just because they’re not leaving a review, doesn’t mean that they don’t have an opinion on your brand which they may be sharing with others.
For hard-working brands, this means that 40% of your customers might be praising you — or complaining about you — without your knowledge.
You can’t, of course, force customers to leave a review (although you can bribe them but, that’s another story).
So, how do you get about finding out what they think? Thankfully, the answer is relatively simple and it comes in the form of sentiment analysis.
Bursting with emotion
Sentiment analysis tools scour the internet to find mentions of your brand, product or service online. Then, the algorithm rates these mentions into one of three categories — Negative, Neutral and Positive. This is super helpful in giving you a broad idea of how people feel about your brand. But, these days, sentiment analysis tools are able to dig much deeper than that.
With a lot of modern tools, you can drill down to specific messages and, even contact the poster directly to start a dialogue. This is incredibly important for brands to gather useful feedback. Additionally, it also helps to avoid a reputational crisis.
A sentiment analysis journey – How it works
Customer sentiment analysis is all about finding out what customers are saying about your brand and then deciphering the emotion behind it.
In most cases, customers will have an emotional response (good or bad) after making a purchase. They’re more likely to tell their social media followers about it than they are the brand itself. This may seem unfair.
We’ve all seen people complaining on Facebook about a local takeaway restaurant without actually first contacting them. But, this is the digital world that we live in.
Various tools on the market are affordable and easy to use and are a great way to get started on your sentiment analysis journey.
You can use these tools to not only check out comments about your brand but that of your competition as well to help you to see what you’re doing right – and what you’re not.
In 2021, you’re able to filter your searches and results in a number of ways. For example, it’s possible to perform an entire search based purely on a heart emoji.
With tools like Brand24, you can wiggle your parameters to your heart’s content in order to produce very simple, broad results or much more in-depth results.
The results give lots of useful facts and figures like these for shopping giants, Amazon and eBay.
“As a software development agency, we’re constantly working to stay ahead of the competition – particularly during the pandemic. We’ve been using Brand 24 for a few years now and, this has proved invaluable in helping us to keep on top of our game.
In 2021, if you’re not listening to your customers, you can guarantee that your competition will be”. Jack Zmudzinski, a senior associate at future-processing.com
Amazon and eBay are long-standing competitors in the world of low price e-Commerce. As such, each is constantly looking for ways to get ahead. Collating customer information is, quite literally, the only way to do this in a way that is effective.
As you can see, the results clearly show ups and downs which allow brands to pinpoint specific events and dates for particular ‘emotions’.
Why is sentiment analysis important?
Most brands will, as a matter of course, experience the occasional high and low when it comes to public opinion and, these are usually relatively minimal.
However, for some unlucky brands, an event such as a faulty product or some negative press can produce much more severe dips. If these are not handled quickly, they can have devastating consequences.
A recent example of this is the budget clothing website, BooHoo. They faced the wrath of the public when the press published a story claiming that the brand was vastly underpaying its employees.
Following the news story, it took just one tweet. Loyalty to the brand took a nosedive with many customers vowing to never shop with the brand again because of these appalling practices.
During the crisis, BooHoo lost more than a third of its market value and has been rallying ever since in a bid to win back its customers.
Sentiment analysis helps brands to spot any potential problems the moment that they begin which, in turn, allows them to deploy a crisis management strategy in order to get out ahead of the problem.
“With the best will in the world, most brands will run into the odd customer-related problem at some point or another. That’s not a problem – but how you deal with it, and how quickly, might be. We use sentiment analysis as a regular part of our business to make sure that we’re aware of any potential issues and to engage with our customers in real-time.” Dima Suponau, CEO & Founder at numberforliveperson.com
Reading the signs
As great as it is, sentiment analysis is not yet infallible as it’s not yet brilliant at spotting things like nuance and sarcasm. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to get into the habit of reading comments on a regular basis to ensure that you’re getting the whole picture.
For example, a social media user may post, “I bought a device charger from X brand and it worked for a whole day before conking out. Fantastic – great job, X Brand.”
While this statement is clearly negative, your sentiment analysis tool is unlikely to see it that way and will almost certainly file it in the ‘Positive’ category.
How can sentiment analysis boost customer loyalty?
The one thing that you really need to know about your customer is that they need to feel that they are valued. Most people don’t have huge amounts of disposable income. For this reason, how they are treated when they’re spending their hard-earned cash is all-important.
We’ve talked a bit about how sentiment analysis can improve your reputation. In this section, we’ll look at the different ways in which you can use it to improve customer loyalty:
One of the most common complaints thrown up by sentiment analysis is that of customer support. These days, customers expect instant responses. When they don’t get them they’re liable to have a good old whinge about it on Facebook.
If this is the case for your brand, sentiment analysis will enable you to contact the complainer directly. The personal connection lets you inform them of your intended improvements as well as making a statement on your social media platforms to the same effect.
Direct contact is probably the most important thing you’ll use your sentiment analysis for as it makes the customer feel “heard,” which breeds loyalty.
Nobody likes to hear that their product or service is ‘proper rubbish’ or ‘useless.’ Still, when this happens, it can be a valuable lesson. If you’re selling a product or service then, chances are, you have a fair amount of competition.
If your offering is under par or not fit for purpose, you need to know about it in order to make improvements.
It may be that hearing and responding to the complaint will be fairly simple — in which case you can simply contact customers and release a statement. In other cases, where the problem is more serious, you may have to consider a rebrand (serious issues).
Either way, this could be the make-or-break point for your business. Most likely break if you don’t listen to those customers and react accordingly.
“The art and science of analyzing customer feedback and re-thinking your own product features or business processes is complicated. It requires a deep understanding of the whole customer journey, the accuracy and relevancy of pain-to-solve, and the role of value you’ll bring to customers.
Thus, it’s crucially important to not only collect feedback at the moment but to build a constant and persistent flow of feedback analysis” – Maksym Babych, CEO at SpdLoad, a software development company for early-stage startups.
Start a dialogue
As I mentioned early on in this article, sentiment analysis tools allow you to dial directly in terms of contacting the person who is making the comment. This gives you a unique opportunity to grab yourself a brand ambassador by starting a dialogue.
Quick contact is actually simpler than it sounds. For example, a customer has been whinging on social media about the fact that, while your device charging pad is OK, it doesn’t notify you when it’s finished charging.
Allowing you to quickly contact the customer to tell them that your brand has taken his or her comments on board — is important to the customer.
You would then go on to tell them that you would love to discuss things further with them. By doing this, the customer automatically becomes invested in your brand as well as feeling like their opinion matters. The result? You’ve just bagged yourself a loyal customer.
Results from sentiment analysis are a great way of collating information to use in customer surveys. People generally love to give their opinion, particularly if an incentive is involved. Quick surveys on social media tend to be really successful for small to medium brands.
Surveys can help you to refine your offering by asking specific questions with specific answers to give you results. Then, these will point your brand in the right direction in terms of future products and features. This means that you can turn sentiment analysis results into surveys which will net you further feedback and contact information.
The data capture
By collating comments gathered from social media, you’ll get a really good idea of who your customer is and, what they want. This information is a treasure trove when it comes to providing more relevant, targeted content for your customers.
In the modern world, people are constantly bombarded with information online. Unless it’s super-relevant, they’ll tend to go scrolling on by.
Sentiment analysis allows you to use even negative comments to your advantage by recognizing pain points and solving them.
Here is one of the wider uses of sentiment analysis and, it goes like this:
You set your sentiment analysis tool to ‘wireless device charger’ rather than your brand or product. This will give you access to all kinds of comments and conversations on the subject. This is a great indicator as to what people do and don’t like. You’ll then be able to put together relevant and fabulous content. The user will think that you’ve been reading their mind (which you have – sort of).
Your competitor searches will also come in handy here. These will help you to identify gaps in the market and inefficiencies in their service or product which you can then address in your own content.
There’s no denying it — business is tough right now. Retaining customers and improving customer loyalty is never a quick fix. In reality, this can often seem like an uphill climb with no end in sight.
While you’ll still have to put in the work to keep your customers happy, sentiment analysis is a fantastic way of getting a head start.
Sentiment analysis allows you to actually be able to listen to your customers firsthand. This, in turn, lets you then react positively and swiftly to any issues.
On top of that, grabbing bragging rights for those all-important positive comments becomes a walk in the park.
Top image credit: andrea piacquadio; pexels
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!