DICK’s Sporting Goods Turns Social Data Into Actionable Insights

For many retailers, collecting and analyzing the variety of data being generated across channels still is a constant struggle. Consumers’ increasing use of social networks to share perspectives and sentiments makes data retrieval and management even more challenging for these retailers.

To better track, evaluate, and respond to social media feedback, DICK’s Sporting Goods has partnered with newBrandAnalytics (nBA), a social intelligence solution provider.

A full team currently is dedicated to analyzing customer relationship management (CRM) data across the entire chain of 520 brick-and-mortar locations, according to Ryan Eckel, VP of Brand Marketing for the retailer. DICK’s now is leveraging the nBA platform to add more depth and detail to those insights.


“Our CRM analytics team has a plethora of data, but there was a huge gap when it came to humanizing that data,” Eckel said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Numbers can tell you what’s going on to a certain extent, but there is extreme value in social media because it tells you why you are getting specific results.”

Since implementing nBA in early May 2013, DICK’s has been able to keep a constant pulse on social feedback and sentiment. Not only does this detailed intelligence help Eckel capture a complete picture of trends across communication and commerce touch points, it also helps him manage the brand more efficiently.

“At the end of the day, we’re dealing with humans, not collections of numbers,” Eckel said. “With nBA, I’m able to really keep pace with how people perceive the brand, then pull levers at the store level to improve customer experiences.”

Using nBA, DICK’s can tap social insights to inform all areas of the business — from marketing to store operations. Awareness and monitoring tools help team members track and manage social communities and followers in a variety of ways, such as responding quickly to negative feedback, identifying key influencers, and even benchmarking feedback against competitors.

By accumulating consumer insights across Facebook, Twitter, and other networks, DICK’s can track and pinpoint key themes and trends via language modeling capabilities. For instance, the retailer can determine if several consumers are complaining about poor in-store customer service then react by responding to comments and addressing the issues in those locations.

The key benefit, Eckel confirmed, is “the ability to extract meaning from social language, gather insight and apply it at the store level. Now, the social feedback we gather is very actionable and digestible for our entire organization.”

Eckel is considering ways to tie social feedback gathered via the nBA platform with store-based customer satisfaction input such as surveys to create a more cohesive picture of cross-channel interactions. While no strategy has been developed just yet, he anticipates this initiative also will help the retailer establish a more clear and concise connection between social feedback and in-store experiences.

“When we conduct surveys, we’re proactively asking consumers to share their opinions,” Eckel said. This form of feedback is vastly different from unsolicited, un-incentivized insights that are shared on social media, he added. “Social gives you much more detail into consumer behavior than some market research or surveys. It’s more pure, in my opinion.” 

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