Most of the “Big Data” examples deal with enterprise analytics being run on terabytes or petabytes of data.  However, this example shows how widespread social data analytics have become.  And, as I live in the wine country, this example is quite close to home.

One of the local papers had a nice write-up on how the small local wineries are tracking their customer’s like and dislikes when it comes to the winery’s product offerings.  They are using a product offering from VinTank, which brings enterprise level social analytics to small wineries.  “’It really enables me to monitor and engage anybody that's talking about our brand,’ said Dylan Elliott, e-commerce coordinator for Crimson Wine Group, which owns Healdsburg's Seghesio Family Vineyards and uses VinTank. ‘You can really dig into the customer database and see who your advocates are, all kinds of information.’” Crimson Wine Group has revenues in 2012 of less than $50M.

Of course, especially lately, privacy concerns are starting to become a concern.  In one example of the analytics’ capabilities: “’If anyone checks in at your winery or takes a picture or tweets, we push that right in front of your winery,’ said Mabray, the VinTank strategy officer. ‘We say, 'This person who just checked in at Foursquare is on your property, and is a wine club member. Go say 'Hi' to them right away.' . . . It's a little creepy sometimes.’”  I personally don’t see this as a problem of mission creep:  if this person is using Foursquare, then I would think that they would want to be acknowledged.

The key here is that all retail organizations, no matter what their size, are now going to find that social analytics are a necessity, not an option, if they want to compete on any reasonable scale. The more retail front line analytics progress, the more we are getting back to the 19th century corner grocer who knew your name, knew your wants and tastes, and was waiting for you to walk through the door.