Top 5 Market Research Methodologies for Retail Stores
Market research is important for a retail store to understand the customers’ perspectives as to which products they purchase from the store and why. The key findings of a market research for a retail store helps in improving the retail store’s products, services, customer support which overall impacts the buying experience of customers and pave the way for success.
We present below the popular market research studies that are conducted for retail stores. These studies can be conducted as a single project or combined to produce a comprehensive study and work towards the benefit of the store.
#1. Intercept Surveys
Intercept surveys is a popular market research for retail industry. Here, a market researcher approaches customers leaving a store and generally asks them about their shopping experience at the shop. These interviews are conducted using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or paper survey to record data. For an e-commerce store, there is the option pop-up feedback form available on the website. As technology has evolved, market researchers are also able to reach retail customers who shopped during specific time frames. Such surveys help to collect data on a variety of variables like as
- Customer satisfaction
- Brand awareness
- Opinions on staff
- Opinions on packaging
#2. Mystery Shopping
There are a number of variables that impact a customer’s experience in a retail store, like as the ambience, product range, buying experience, staff behaviour and so on. In a Mystery Shopping Research, a trained market researcher enters a retail store as a customer. The researcher reviews the retail store environment, the staff, and other factors that impact a customer’s shopping experience.
Some popular methods of mystery shopping are as follows:
- Making phone calls to specific departments
- Sending emails to specific departments (i.e., customer service)
- Keeping the video camera on while shopping
- Purchasing merchandise
- Returning merchandising
Mystery shopping allows a retailer to evaluate and improve. Mystery shopping gives a good idea to see how your store is being run on a typical day.
# 3. Customer Surveys
It’s impossible to read a customer’s mind. So, occasional customer surveys become essential to help retail stores to turn negative experiences into positive changes. Certain factors that need to be considered are as follows:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): How likely are you to recommend this store to a friend?
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the service here at this store?
- Customer Effort Score (CES): How easy was it to find the product(s) you were looking for here?
Also, a comparative analysis can be made by asking customers NPS, CSAT, and CES of their competitors. This can be done by sending online surveys to each customer after a purchase or can also be recorded in an offline paper survey.
Through a shop-along market research study, retailers are able to understand a customer’s journey from the entrance to the exit of their store. Here a customer’s behavior is observed by the researcher the moment he enters the store, and keep an observation of his navigation, decision making, product selection, and overall experience. In shop-along research study, it allows researchers a unique opportunity to explore the psychological variables that impact a customer’s decision-making process.
#5. Competitive Research
Since retail is an extremely competitive market, and since hundreds of options are available for customers to choose from, retailers need to gauge their competition time to time. Hence, competitive research is very essential.
Competitive research is conducted by market researchers to collect data on competitors through various methods such as mystery shopping, primary qualitative or quantitative research, secondary research, social media observations, and many other such methods suitable for the researchers. The findings are then compiled into a competitive analysis, offering retailers a complete overview of their competitors.
Major info on competitive research include:
- Product offerings
- Sales strategies
- Marketing strategies
- Social media handles
- Customer satisfaction scores
- Design or layout
- Reviews or ratings scores, and more.