The economy has been through a rollercoaster of ups and downs over the last two decades, but more recently, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses all over the world are trying to cater to their consumer market in this “new normal.” Due to the recession of 2020, consumer behavior has changed drastically and companies know that there’s no going back to the way things used to be.
The hard truth is that data before 2019 isn’t as usable as it used to be; companies need a way to get into the minds of their consumers in order to stay ahead. Consumer research and location intelligence can play a vital role in helping businesses understand what their customers are interested in.
What is Consumer Research?
There are four different types of consumer research (also known as customer research) that a business can perform:
Primary: This form of research should be thought of as being a direct conversation between business and customer. With primary research, a brand may want to utilize survey tools or customer feedback forms as a way to gather data.
Secondary: Secondary research is similar to primary except for the fact that a business is using a third party to conduct their research. For example, a brand might decide to use a market research firm or an agency to help with consumer research.
Qualitative: The goal of this type of research is to gauge the sentiment of your customer base by using text, audio, or visual.
Quantitative: Think of this as statistical research that utilizes numerical data for a deductive approach.
What’s the Difference Between Market Research and Consumer Research?
Market research is the umbrella that consumer research sits under. Businesses use market research as a way to understand the overall market and customer segments.
Consumer research provides companies insights into:
- What customers want.
- Customer sentiment.
- What messaging customers will respond best to.
Performing thorough consumer research that delivers actionable and accurate results is not easy, but there are data solutions that can enrich consumer data. Location intelligence is a real-world data solution that uses cleansed and verified data sets to determine customer interests in near real-time.
Using Location Intelligence to Understand Consumers
In business, the most important part is the customer. An organization can have the perfect process, people, and product but without the customer, there wouldn’t be a business at all. One of the hardest things for leaders is finding a way to truly understand their customers. This is where location intelligence comes into play.
WHO ARE YOUR NEW CUSTOMERS?
Location intelligence can tell a business about its customers’ offline journeys. An example of this would be being able to determine what customers want from a business. For example, a skincare brand is working on its latest product release– a serum that targets fine lines around the eyes– but they aren’t sure who to specifically target. They know that a lot of younger people are using high-end skincare for preventative purposes, but their main customer base has always been people above the age of 45.
By using location intelligence for their consumer research, they are able to analyze foot traffic data for their customer base. Much to their surprise, they determine that their own customer base has changed after the lockdowns, and instead of seeing the 45+ community, they are seeing people in their 20’s and 30’s who are interested in their skincare products. These new customer insights help the skincare brand adjust the campaign messaging, and introduce the new serum as a preventative powerhouse.
Customer Experience is Key
The customer experience encompasses everything from store layout to customer service. The biggest challenge with the customer experience is keeping up with customer demand. Customer expectations are always evolving, and there is always something that can be improved when it comes to the customer experience. Location intelligence can help businesses stay ahead of the constantly changing customer experience landscape and get to the bottom of what their customers want.
Let’s say that a cosmetics brand is looking to redesign its floor plan in order to simplify the in-store shopping experience. There has been a trend lately to clear out the main floor in favor of stations with stylists. However, this would mean pushing all of the main shelves closer to the walls. Instead of making a massive change like this based on assumptions, the business decides to do some customer research using location intelligence.
To understand the customer journey, they examine their foot traffic data to get insights into where their customers go in the real world. The cosmetics brand determines that their customers go to luxury hair salons and have been known to attend events related to cosmetic pop-ups where they get to try on the makeup and work with a stylist. Based on this, the store decides to reevaluate its in-store experience.
The brand revamps their floor plan to focus on interactive experiences with stylists. This drives up their foot traffic and provides their customers with a memorable experience.
No Such Thing as Competition
With the right customer research solution in place, there’s no such thing as competition. If a business is able to use location intelligence as part of their customer research, then they get a fuller understanding of not only what their customers want, but why they want it. This puts them ahead of the competition in more ways than one.
WHY CUSTOMERS CHOOSE THE COMPETITION
There are many different reasons why a company’s foot traffic numbers could be down. It could be anything from an unsuccessful campaign, to the state of the economy. Location intelligence can help businesses get right to the root of the problem. If a competitor is having a flash sale, or perhaps their checkout is easier, foot traffic numbers may be higher.
Location intelligence can help brands pinpoint where they are falling behind compared to their competitors, leading to a faster resolution and a more effective conquesting strategy.
KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS, GAIN THEIRS
When competitors target the same customer base, data from customer research can help brands stay ahead of the competition at all times. Brands can use these insights to create effective conquesting campaigns based on what their target market wants the most, like a new product line, or a great loyalty program to keep them coming back.
In addition to this, customer research gives brands the necessary foresight to predict trends well ahead of their competitors. Because location intelligence shows brands how consumers move about in the world, this gives them direct insight into shifts in consumer behavior before anyone else, allowing brands to maximize on emerging trends.
The Consumer Economy
Consumer research analysis traditionally has been used by marketers, but economists can also use this method to build out economic models. The consumer economy is driven by consumer spending and this is measured by the GDP, otherwise known as the Gross Domestic Product. This past year, consumer spending shifted as more people stayed home and went out less. This shift in consumer spending impacts business investments. Data on consumer spending can be enriched with location intelligence, which is built on human mobility patterns, to understand how the economy is doing in a particular city, town, or even metro area. With this information, companies can compare consumer market patterns in different areas and strategize how to meet consumer demand.
The Best Consumer Research Solution: Location Intelligence
Making data-driven decisions in 2021 can be a big challenge for companies. Customer expectations have changed so much in such a short period of time. With location intelligence, businesses can analyze near real-time customer insights and meet customer expectations. Instead of relying solely on demographic data or other consumer research methods like surveys, companies can use insights from location intelligence to build out and enrich customer personas.
It’s time for your business to understand your customers on a whole new level. Contact us to speak with an expert about using location intelligence for consumer research.