DecideQuick taps social analytics for quicker buying decisions

Indian startup integrates social media data with patented sentiment- and context-identification engines on one platform to help confused consumers make informed purchasing decisions.
Written by Srinivas Kulkarni, Contributor on
Traveling somewhere? Buying that new mobile phone or tablet you always wanted? Need to know the best restaurant in town? What do you generally do? Well, you will probably look it up on Google. Some might ask their friends for their opinions but most would go online and get expert opinion on Web sites such as TripAdvisor for travel or review site Mouthshut.com.

Of course, there are also multiple mobile apps to help you make decisions on different things such as food, electronics and more.

However, more often than not, you find yourself making a decision without having a complete picture of every factor. With the advent of social media, you might say things have become a lot easier. But while Facebook posts and Twitter updates may give you some insights, they too don't always end up giving you the complete picture. 
One thing is clear, though, and that is the element of social has changed the way people are making decisions these days. Yes, word of mouth has truly been replaced by word of social! 

Shameer Thaha, co-founder and CEO of DecideQuick (pictured left), realized this and came up with an application to address the need of helping users make their decisions through social media.

I had a chance to get a few responses over e-mail on the product from Shameer and here's what he has to say about the app.
Q: What is DecideQuick?
: DecideQuick is an app that hopes to make things simpler on the social media side for users. It helps you make informed decisions faster through social media by gaining from the experiences of others. It aims to help users make a quick decision when buying consumer goods, dining, travel, and education. 
What made you think of this business idea?
I was planning a family vacation and was confused with choices. This problem resonated with my friends, and we thought about the process that most people go through when having to make a decision--searching online, reading reviews, posts and asking a close friend if he or she has had a personal experience.
This process was not just time consuming, it was also difficult to absorb all the information from millions of search results and arrive at an analysis from the mixed opinions. Having been in the social media monitoring domain for over three years, I've seen how social data has been utilized to derive valuable insights for corporations and I wanted to apply it to help solve decisions in a very personalized and reliable manner in under 60 seconds.
(Source: DecideQuick)

Tell us more about how DecideQuick works.
DecideQuick uses sentinel, or big data, analytics and a series of cutting-edge algorithms to solve user problems. It goes beyond public domain data and integrates reviews from the user's friends and influencers on social networks in addition to reviews and opinions from domain experts and the general public. DecideQuick's proprietary sentiment- and context-identification engines enable it to analyze the data sets in real-time and provide personalized recommendations.

Any key features you would like to highlight?
DecideQuick is the first ever platform to use social data analytics and co-own private social data to help people make informed decisions about their choices. We analyze public, friends and influencer opinions in real-time, thus saving the user the hassle of searching, reading and assimilating all the information online. 

What's also interesting is that the user's friends do not need to write new reviews on the platform. We do not intend on changing their habits. Any opinion shared anywhere on the Web will be analyzed. This, we believe, will really help the decision-maker. Inviting one's friends onto the network will however strengthen the decision grid and provide deeper recommendation insights. 

What is the current revenue model for DecideQuick?
Current revenue streams are through affiliate purchases, advertising and through data API. Future revenue streams are data insights and intelligence which will be offered as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

What is your product's key differentiator?
DecideQuick's differentiator is its inclusion of social data from existing networks in recommendations and it's intelligent recommendation algorithm. Users can search in a natural language.  

What are some consumer insights you've gleaned since offering the service?
We've had some very interesting learnings along the way. 

For instance, consumers have 35 percent higher chance of making a purchase if the recommended product has at least 10 percent or more recommendations than other choices. The social influence matrix is a key factor in the purchase intention. Over 70 percent of decisions made revolve around purchases in consumer electronics.
On average, people make purchase decisions related to events 4 days prior to it happening. 
Is there a mobile app for DecideQuick in the pipeline?
We are going to launch a mobile app for DecideQuick shortly as we understand many of the decisions are being made on the move. Currently, we have a mobile Web version of DecideQuick but users can expect a native mobile app soon.

You are working on a B2B-focused platform within DecideQuick. Can you share more?
The business-to-business (B2B) focused product is aimed at helping brands better connect with their customers and get deeper insights into consumer behavior. It will be an innovative product in that it integrates social analytics to help consumers make informed purchase decisions.

What segments do you think have more potential with regard to online peer recommendation?
Consumer electronics, travel and entertainment such as movies and games.

What's your take on social analytics and the way it'll change consumer behavior in the future?
Social analytics has been around for more than three years but it has become more relevant recently as brands have started to understand the value of consumer insights from social data. In the future, social analytics will be used extensively to help both consumers and enterprises as people will have deeper knowledge from the Web.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg once said: "The wisdom of the crowd is moving toward the wisdom of friends." The power of social networks is such that it's become a first point of information.

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