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Published July 5th 2013

How Can Brands Prepare for the Future of Retail?

At Brandwatch we love a challenge. We also love an excuse to play with data and to represent it in a way that is interesting, engaging and also kinda sexy.

So when Barrows approached us to work on a data visualization with them for their then-upcoming event ‘The Future of Retail’, we jumped at the chance.

The event, which is run and organised by WPP, was held last Tuesday and was a rousing success.

The Future of Retail was an exclusive one-day event which revealed the disruptive innovations that are facing retailers over the next few years, and focused on how retailers and brand owners can leverage this change.

It was an interactive, immersive day which included hands-on demonstrations of the latest smart store technology innovations.

For the event and this project we decided to look at conversation online around colour care shampoo. Luscious locks seemed to be an important topic online and four key themes of conversations stood out: price, colour protection, sensory feedback and product messaging.

Within each theme we looked at topics of conversation in relation to that theme, where online conversation was taking place and which colour care shampoo brands were associated with that theme of conversation.

Want to know how interesting the results were? Well, here comes the sciency bit, concentrate!



We looked for people talking about purchasing shampoo, and more specifically chatting about the price (4,100 mentions).


Key fact:

  • 16% of shampoo price discussion also referenced skin care. There was an overlap between shampoo price and discussion around luxury cosmetics/skin care.


Colour Protection


Conversation captured relating to shampoo for coloured hair (2,227 mentions)


Key fact:

  • Forums and reviews were common for shampoo chat in general, but especially for coloured hair. Demand outweighed supply for online advice.


Sensory Feedback


A search for discussion around the touch, scent and sight about shampoo (total 19,301 mentions).


Key fact:

  • 70% of shampoo scent mentions took place post-purchase. This skew was stronger for Dove than for other brands, suggesting that Dove may be missing a trick (its shampoo has a good scent but it’s not boasting about this to first time consumers).


Product Messaging


Within conversation of shampoo, categories for 4 themes – relaxation, luxury, ease and defence were identified. On the screen, the brand association shows defence only. Everything else on the screen shows the four themes combined.


Key fact:

  • Defence was more than twice as prominent as other messaging themes. ‘Defending’ hair is the most prominent message for shampoo products, more so than ease of use/convenience, luxury or relaxation.


What the visualization and the data behind it ultimately demonstrates is that listening to what your consumers are talking about online can provide your brand with real, actionable insights.

Retailers need to respond quickly to demands from consumers, but by listening and learning from what is being said online these are demands and changes that can be leveraged and utilised to the benefit of the consumer and the brand.

See the dataviz in action here.

To talk to us about working on a data visualization or to find out more, get in touch.

Many thanks to Matt Smith (Director) of Smivadee Productions for the video from the event and Thomas Lilley for the audio – kudos


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