A social media analytic framework for improving operations and service management: a study of the retail pharmacy industry

Yuanzhu Zhan, Runyue Han, Mike Tse, Mohd Helmi Ali, Jiayao Hu

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The revolution in the digital economy is forcing the retail pharmacy industry to develop new business models to achieve operational excellence. A large amount of user-generated content on social media can be captured and analysed to help organisations gain insights into market requirements and enhance business intelligence. Accordingly, this study proposes an analytic framework for retail pharmacy organisations to: a) use social media and highlight the most-discussed topics by consumers, b) to identify the key areas for improvement based on the most negative comments received, and c) to determine the connections amongst the important concepts and enhance customer loyalty by adding values to consumers. We conduct an in-depth analysis on the Twitter platforms of the three largest retail pharmacy organisations in the UK: Boots, Lloyds and Superdrug. The findings show that issues with marketing, customer service and product are the key improvement areas for the retail pharmacies. Particularly, Boots received an overall better sentiment performance than Lloyds and Superdrug. We also determine the relationships amongst the important concepts discussed by consumers. The analysis generates insights into the use of social media for supporting pharmacy organisations in developing their social media strategies as well as improving their operations and service quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120504
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Early online date10 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Stella Tham for her help in the data collection. This research was supported by grants from the ULMS Pump-Priming Grant, and BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant (SRG20\200985).


  • Retail pharmacy industry
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Social media analytics
  • Text mining
  • Twitter data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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