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Tech Company Tracks Black Friday Through Social Media

A local tech company is tracking Black Friday sales through social media, and sharing findings with the Northwest Arkansas' supplier community.
Bentonville, AR- A local tech company is tracking Black Friday sales through social media, and sharing findings with the Northwest Arkansas' supplier community.

The company is this weeks feature guest on "Saturday Morning Meeting," an independent show working to inform Walmart suppliers about the latest retail trends.
"There are 1400 supplier teams in Northwest Arkansas," says host Derek Ridenoure. "This was really to try to bring those supplier teams together."

Each week the web show invites a guest to discuss the successes and failures they've found in Bentonville.

"This is successful because we have suppliers coming in and sharing their experiences," Ridenoure says. "It's really just about giving information out."

This week's topic was a no brainer, so the show invited Datarank in to discuss Black Friday. The tech startup was created by software engineers from the University of Arkansas. CEO Ryan Frazier says their program collects and analyzes comments about buying behavior on social media.

"Today we're tracking the Black Friday trends, to really forecast, coming into the holidays, who's performing the best, and who's not doing quite as well," Frazier says. "We're seeing large growth, year over year, about 30% growth in Black Friday overall since last year, which I think is going to be great for all of these retailers."

Frazier says it looks like Walmart's doing well, but apparel retailers seem to be having a tougher time.

"I think even today Walmart mentions are outpacing Amazon, which was a bit surprising," he says. "There are some categories that are performing better than others, durable goods doing quite a bit better than... we expected, while consumer electronics is actually falling a bit behind."

The full episode of "Saturday Morning Meeting" will be available here after 10 a.m. Saturday, and starting on January 11, the show will be airing on KNWA at 6:30 p.m.
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