There are two basic types of retail market research- primary and secondary. Primary is based on the data you’ve gathered yourself over time. It requires taking different approaches to collect information, such as online and offline surveys, in-depth customer interviews, consumer reviews, focus groups, sales records and your employees’ feedback. On the other hand, doing secondary research means analyzing case studies, industry trends and other reports relevant to your business, done by someone else.
Custom research studies help retail businesses with:
- Marketing and advertising strategies
- Social media tactics
- Store layout
- Website design
- Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
- Product offerings
- Employee training
- Store loyalty programs
- Sales and promotions
Effective Research Marketing Tools:
Market research tools: There are a wide range of platforms, including FedStats, Nielsen, Claritas MyBestSegments, SurveyMonkey and Survata that provide you with fresh data and updates on your industry, giving you a clear image of where, when and how to launch your retail startup.
Customer targeting tools: The best way to collect this information is through surveys, interviews and focus groups. Fortunately, the rise of market research tools has made this process much simpler to you. Platforms like American FactFinder, Think with Google: Marketer’s Almanac, and MakeMyPersona will give you the invaluable information on your consumers and their buying habits.
Competitor analysis tools: Country Business Patterns provides you with the data on the areas of the country with large numbers of certain types of businesses. Additionally, Business Dynamics Statistics draws census data and helps you see economic data on job creation, startups and shutdowns, business openings, expansions, and closures.
Intercept surveys, or intercept interviews, are a very popular market research option, especially within the retail industry.
During a traditional retail intercept survey, an interviewer approaches customers leaving a store and generally asks them about their experience.
Intercept interviews can be conducted using a tablet, laptop, or paper survey to record data.
- Customer satisfaction
- Brand awareness
- Opinions on packaging
Whether it be a sales associate’s knowledge or friendliness, store cleanliness, customer service experience, store management, product options or availability, or something else, there are a number of variables that impact a customer’s experience in a retail store.
- Making phone calls or sending emails to specific departments (i.e., customer service)
- Wearing a video camera while shopping to record the experience
- Purchasing or returning merchandise from a specific department or through a specific method (i.e., brick and mortar or eCommerce)
It’s impossible to read a customer’s mind, and in a market that is crowded and competitive, retail stores need to be surveying their customers to stand out among their competitors.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): How likely are you to recommend [store name] to a friend?
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the service you received at [store name]?
- Customer Effort Score (CES): How easy was it to find the product(s) you were looking for at [store name]?
It’s no secret that retail is an extremely competitive market. With hundreds of options for customers to choose from, retailers are constantly competing with one another. Retailers, no matter what size, should be conducting competitive research.
- Product offerings
- Sales or promotions
- Marketing strategies
- Social media tactics
- Customer satisfaction scores
- Design or layout
- Reviews or ratings
Social Listening and Monitoring
As a retailer, especially in a competitive space, it’s essential to stay in the know about the conversations that are happening online about your industry.
There’s nothing worse than an unhappy customer rambling on about their negative experience with your company on social media for the world to see.
Just one negative customer experience in a retail store can fuel a social media wildfire. Setting up alerts for these situations is important to putting out the fire before it’s too late.
- Trend tracking and analysis
- Reputation and crisis management
- Social impact of marketing
- Competitive intelligence
Importance of Market Research for Customer insight
Your customer records can provide a wealth of information, such as purchasing trends, most selling services in different demographic segments, etc. Market research can help you assess key trends to anticipate how the market may change. It is a vital step in identifying new market segments, developing new products and choosing your target market.
Market research done well helps you plan your strategy. Even if you are an established company, you need to keep in touch with your customers’ needs, as well as with market trends and your competitors. By using an insights repository as part of your market research process, you can get quicker, faster and efficient research insights that matter.
Market research can also measure the effectiveness of your own marketing. You can find out how well people know about your products and services. The results can give you ideas about effective packaging and advertising to generate more brand awareness.