Market research can tell you if your company is meeting the needs and expectations of your customers. Best of all, it doesn’t need to be a time intensive process. Just a few minutes a day spent on gathering data. Then, after a couple weeks or a month, you can analyze the data you’ve collected and get a better picture of where your business stands in relation to the current market.
Start with a Plan
There are many inexpensive ways to find out the latest products and services available, and what’s hot or what’s not. That’s why it’s important to set clear objectives before you start in order to understand the scope of your research. These objectives can focus on a specific target audience or segment of the market. The narrower the scope usually equals less investment of time and resources. Here are 9 simple tips you can follow to save time and energy:
1. Keep notes on your phone or in a couple notebooks, so you can compile all of the information into your marketing research.
2. Take any and all feedback at the cash register. This can be solicited and unsolicited advice on products or the customer experience.
4. Use your social networks. Reaching out to your customers through Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram are easy ways to learn more about their likes and attitudes.
5.Create a paper survey that can be filled in at the cash register. Or, an online survey for your customers that visit your website. Remember, this needs to take only a minute or two and their input is extremely valuable. Offering your customers a discount may get them motivated to fill it out.
6. Examine sales reports through your point of sale software. These are a very good indicator of what is selling and what is not.
7. Spend some time online to research new products and ways to enhance your customers’ experience. We suggest jotting down the interesting facts you gather in a notebook.
8. Search for specific keywords and hashtags that reflect your products and services. A simple search on Google can reap hundreds, if not thousands of hits. These results can lead you to a better understanding about your customers.
9. Check out your competition. How do they do business? What’s their customer experience like?
A Mix of Data
Having a good mix of market information to analyze gives you a more complete picture of what your customers want. The feedback you receive from your customers helps solidify your relationship with them. Their engagement with your business becomes more than an exchange of goods and services. Plus, you gain more insight into their experience with your store. Another reason to perform market research on a regular basis is so your business can adapt quickly to any changes in the market. With global juggernauts like Amazon and Wal-Mart, you really need to set yourself apart from the competition.
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