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Retailer Market Research During COVID: How to Get the Data You Need

If there was ever a time for information, it’s during a pandemic. Even today, when many of the effects of COVID-19 are finally starting to abate, there’s still much uncertainty — in our daily lives, in business, and especially in the world of retail. Consumers are simply different than they used to be. Their needs have changed. They have new demands and new buying habits and patterns. Market research has always been an important component of profitable business decisions, shedding light on consumer needs, market trends, and the competition so that companies can develop successful business strategies, but when consumer behaviors are erratic and unprecedented, such as during (and following) a pandemic, retailers not only need reliable information, they need reliable information quickly. If you’re in the retail business, here’s how to get the data you need…now:

There’s a time for DIY market research. It might seem like a pandemic would be it: after all, when done correctly, DIY market research can yield results that are often quick and cost-effective. But when your attention is focused on surviving a crisis (like COVID), DIY market research can demand resources your company doesn’t have the luxury of spending. It’s likely you’ll need all hands on deck to manage your daily operations, for instance, leaving no time for your staff to design or distribute a market survey, much less analyze results or devise a plan for action. Instead, when high stakes are involved, a company should consider partnering with a professional consumer insights business. A team of expert researchers provides retailer market research that is just as customized, but far more comprehensive, than any in-house project, enabling the rest of your team to focus on other matters.

Don’t worry that conducting retailer market research will inconvenience or irritate respondents. On the contrary, our team at Research America believes that consumers want to be heard, especially now. Plus, respondents might be more available (due to changed circumstances with their jobs) and more inclined to participate in research endeavors, seeing such studies as a way to engage with others, vent, and even control a small part of the world even as the rest of it remains distant and strange. Furthermore, having a company ask for their input often makes consumers feel valued, and, for many during a pandemic, it can signal an approaching return to normalcy, at least within the business world!

While some social distancing restrictions are easing, many people are still cautious about being in crowds, with many consumers still behaving in erratic ways. Use common sense to pinpoint other types of retailer market research projects that would work in the current context and with your current resources at hand. Possible suggestions include retail consumer experience research, retail brand messaging studies, and new retail product or marketing concept testing for pandemic-related items such as those in the health and safety; dining and food; entertainment, and home industries.

COVID-19 doesn’t have to stop your company from acquiring actionable retailer market research results. An experienced partner can help you uncover reliable insights that improve your business decisions and increase your ROI even when the market is as unpredictable as it is today. Please contact our team at Research America to learn more.

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