In 1852, a dry goods store was opened at 137 Lake St. in Chicago, Illinois. This store later became the great Marshall Field and Company empire. Although Marshall Field’s was later acquired by Macy’s, the birth of the modern retail industry is commonly denoted by the humble origins of Marshall Field’s. Today the retail industry exist in multiple mediums outside of the traditional brick-and-mortar structure. Consumers are now shopping online, through mobile applications, and even on social media. Simultaneously to the growth of the retail industry, market research has also made innovative strides. The driving force behind the retail industry is the trends followed by the consumers. Market research is essential to track consumer behavior, investigate the consumers’ response to new products, and identify platforms for brand engagement. Retailers can utilize online research panels that include respondents ranging in interest level – from brand loyalist to infrequent shoppers. The data can be used to promote methods that can boost sales.
Consumer behavior is constantly changing, but retailers can keep up with the trends by surveying panelist about their shopping behavior. Conducting survey through online research panels can offer insight into the consumer shopping preferences. The panels allow access to consumers that are outside of the retailer’s reach. Retailers can collect data from non-customers to learn how to attract new clients and grow their brand. The panels can also help retailers understand the general consumers’ impression of the brand and identify key factors that can be revised to attract the targeted demographic. The research panel can also be used to identify customers that already frequently visit the store or shop with that brand. The data collected from that subset of respondents can pinpoint the areas in which the brand is performing well. The research collected can serve as the cornerstone of brand promotion and awareness.
In addition to using research panels to identify brand perception, retailers can also utilize panels to collect information that assists with product development. Collecting information from consumers during the infancy of product development can provide valuable feedback and foresight into the success of product sales. Online research panels allow access to customizable audiences that align with the goals of the study. Retailers can survey the targeted audience to identify the consumer’s product preferences. This data can help product developers design product lines around the consumer’s needs and wants. Research panels can also help retailers identify appropriate price points for their products. In return, the data collected can assist product development and boost sales.
Another way to boost product sales is to use research panels to identify how the targeted audience engages with a brand. In today’s digital landscape people are shopping using multiple platforms. Research panels can produce a snapshot of consumers’ shopping behavior patterns. This data can show retailers the areas to allocate resources and capture the attention of their targeted audiences. This information can tell retailers whether they need to open a new store, redesign their website layout, boost social media efforts, and much more.
Ultimately, the retail industry is a fast-paced world that thrives due to trends and consumer behavior. Market research is essential for retailers to stay knowledgeable of shopping preferences and brand impressions within the market. Retailers that conduct research through online research panels have access to customizable panels that target audiences ranging from general consumer to frequent customers. The information collected through this research methodology can aid brand awareness efforts, assist product development, and identify key factors in brand engagement.