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Guide to Learning Basic Retail Market Research


As a business owner, you know that conducting thorough market research is essential to your success. Retail market research gives you insights into the size of your target audience, how competitive the environment is, and where there’s room for improvement. 

This information can help you devise effective marketing campaigns and product promotions as well as assess your customer’s experience. This blog discusses the basics of retail market research, focusing on data collection, analysis, and application. So, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started!

What is the purpose of retail market research?

Retail market research aims to collect information about the target market and your competitors. What’s more, research helps retailers determine particular customer needs, desires, and behaviors; information necessary to advertise/sell products or improve the retail store experience. 

There are five steps in the market research process:

  • Define the problem
  • Develop a research plan
  • Collect information
  • Analyze the information
  • Present the findings

What is a Target Market?

A target market is a group of consumers most likely to purchase the products or services your company sells. Knowing your target market is essential because all your marketing efforts revolve around reaching this specific group of customers.

What is the purpose of market research questions?

Research questions form the foundation for the entire marketing process. Without good questions, your marketing efforts will lack substance and direction. For instance, it is impossible to solve a problem when you don’t know what the problem is to start with.

  • Primary market research: is information gathered through self-conducted research methods. Because a business owner designs primary data research methods, this information is best suited to address the particular needs of the owner’s retail business and customers.
  • Secondary market research: is information gathered from previously conducted studies. This information is taken from the broader retail industry and may not fit the needs of a specific retail business.

Sample market research questions to get the process started:

  • Who is our ideal customer?
  • What do they struggle with?
  • What do they want?
  • What sets us apart from our competitors?
  • What benefits do our customers think we can give them?

Methods of Conducting Market Research 

There are many different ways to conduct market research and collect consumer data. In this article, we focus on three proven methods that can be deployed cost-effectively and in a reasonable timeframe:

    1. Consumer Surveys (Primary Research)
    2. Customer Review Analysis (Primary Research)
    3. Using data provided by a market research firm (Secondary research)

Method #1: Retail Customer Survey Research

A customer survey is a data collection tool used to gather information about human behavior, attitudes, and beliefs regarding products, services, etc. Customer surveys are commonly used in market research to collect self-reported data from (targetted) participants.

The Benefits of using customer surveys in retail marketing research:

  • Collect vital feedback about product advertising & promotion
  • Provide a foundation for future retail business decisions 
  • Collect customer data for marketing purposes.
  • Monitor customer satisfaction and improve business processes.
  • Generate leads and increase customer engagement 

Note: surveys allow customers to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a business, product, or service.

How do companies use surveys?

Surveys are one of the primary methods for collecting the information businesses need. Survey information can reduce risks; generate insights about employees, customers, and markets, and align PR, advertising, and other communications programs with target constituencies.

Six Steps on how to conduct basic survey research

  • Set Your Objectives
  • Design Survey Questions
  • Test the survey
  • Administer surveys to respondents
  • Collect Responses.
  • Analyze the Responses.

There are two main types of survey:

    1. Questionnaire format: a list of questions that are given to respondents 
    2. Interview format: where the researcher asks a set of questions by phone or in-person to respondents.

Note: this article focuses on questionnaire surveys

Method #2 Customer Review Analysis

The customer-review analysis involves assessing customer and product reviews from several channels and uncovering insights. These insights can improve products and services, create new ones, or enhance the overall customer experience.

What is a customer review?

Customer reviews are evaluations regarding a product or service made by customers who have purchased and used a product or Service.

Customer Reviews provide valuable feedback 

Customer reviews supply retailers with useful information provided by recent customers. In addition, reviews also provide valuable insights into what products are selling well, which promotions are working well, and which areas need improvement.

Note: in addition to retail market research, this information helps retail stores improve their operations.

What are the benefits of analyzing customer reviews?

Customer review research reveals the features that receive more complaints and how relevant these features are for customers. By listening to them, a product researcher can decide if a costly product change is worth it or not and how it will improve customer satisfaction, driving more sales.


Six steps on how to analyze customer reviews feedback

  • Gather and organize the data
  • Determine appropriate categories
  • Organize the data into broad categories
  • Refine the categories into specific themes
  • Calculate how popular each category is
  • Summarize data and share.

Method #3 Use Data Collected by Market Research Firms

What is a market research firm?

A data collection company conducts market analysis concerning retail markets utilizing various methods, including focus groups, surveys, face-to-face, etc. 

What are the benefits of using data from Market Research Companies?

Data used from consumer research companies provide the information you require immediately. The information is well organized, accurate, and up-to-date. Further, the information is conducted by professionals and is therefore valid and reliable. However, it is essential to note that data collected by market research firms may not fit the particular needs of your retail business and customers.

How to apply data collected by market research firms:

    1. Optimize your product for users.
    2. Improve customer experience.
    3. Make personalized offers.
    4. Run customized marketing campaigns.
    5. Use it to predict the future.
    6. Fine-tune your loyalty program to grow sales.
    7. Improve your content marketing.

So, there you have it – the basics of retail market research! This is just a starting point, but it’s an excellent foundation to help you get started. Remember, data collection and analysis are key; ensure you’re gathering accurate information and applying it effectively. Need help getting started? Contact us for more information or assistance with your market research needs.

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