Login

As thousands of marketers, and those who love them, descend upon Philadelphia for the Shop.org Digital Summit this week, one key thing is on the mind of many who make their livings in the field of digital commerce: How in the world do we rise about the noise and get noticed? Today’s soft opening of the annual conference brings with it a flurry of press releases, carefully timed news stories and well-thought-out press releases meant to take advantage of having the eyes of digital retail all focused in one place. But when it comes to the look-at-us derby, we have one, undeniable winner: DataScience , a Los Angeles-based data analytics company. 3587342833_356fc5907c_z How did they cut through the cacophony of omnichannel, BOPUS, POS, buy buttons, end-to-end fulfillment solutions and next-generation this and that? With cheesesteak. I mean, come on, this is Philadelphia. What better way to capture the hearts, minds and stomachs of convention-goers intent on learning a few things and sampling local fare? No, DataScience didn’t order up 5,400 or so of the Philly treat and deliver them to each attendee. They went one better and provided a data-driven analysis of the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia (a discussion, by the way, that has split Pennsylvania families and put more than one romance on ice). "It’s a longstanding battle where winners have been determined by personal preference and opinion, rather than taking a look at what the data is really saying, so we thought it could be a fun application of our knowledge," DataScience’s Dave Goodsmith told Michael Klein of Philly.com, which reported the story. There has been a lot of talk among digital retailers and marketers about data. Perhaps you’ve heard. Some argue they have too much data. Others would like more. Everybody is trying to determine what is the best data. But no one can deny that cheesesteak data is both necessary and relevant — the sort of data you could just eat up. The DataScience team relied on natural language processing , a powerful machine-learning system that crunches tons of information to sort out synonyms and divine sentiment. It’s a technology that is increasingly interesting to online retailers who are constantly trying to connect consumers’ intent and desires with the products they sell. The southern California data scientists unleashed natural language processing on 10 years of customer reviews of 80 sandwich shops, according to Philly.com, focusing on words such as heaven, love, perfect and perfectly to find some of the winners. Terrible, tasteless, tourist and worse moved the cheesesteak down the goodness scale. Dalessandros And being data scientists, the crew from DataScience also produced a best cheesesteak infographic , so that their data, like the best data, is accessible to mere mortals. If you happen to be in Philadelphia for Shop.org, you might want to know that the data-declared winner was was Dalessandro’s on Wendover Street. Just tell them the data sent you. Photo of Delesandro's by Bossi and cheesesteak by Krista published under Creative Commons license. Mike Cassidy is BloomReach’s storyteller. Contact him at mike.cassidy@bloomreach.com ; follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy@bloomreach.com.