Competition for market share among department stores, boutiques and discount stores, grocery and warehouse clubs, restaurants, specialty shops and e-tailers has never been fiercer than it is today. Some of the critical issues our clients have been addressing through research include eroding brand loyalty, increased pricing competition and the trend to timesaving conveniences.
Shugoll Research has worked with clients across industry lines exploring ways to improve market share by addressing issues and opportunities in customer service, product quality, new product development and value positioning.
A large part of our business is answering critical questions and providing actionable direction. Here are some of the questions Shugoll Research has helped Retail clients answer over the years:
Shugoll Research has designed and implemented custom studies for retailers that have lead to informed decisions and improved sales performance. We have used simulated shopping experiences and in-store observation to help retailers optimize sales by identifying the ideal store layout including placement of specific departments within a store as well as the ideal signage, shelf facing placements and visual design.
We also have conducted focus groups and used a variety of projective techniques such as situational drawings, collage, picture decks, storytelling and wishful thinking to understand shopping experiences, to profile customers and identify their needs and expectations.
We’ve been evaluating new retail concepts for clients with great success for years. From adding new services, adding or revamping departments and designing new store footprints, we’ve provided valuable insights and projections regarding customer needs, expectations, intent to use and most importantly, if proposed changes will profitably return the investment.
Among the qualitative techniques used to test new concepts are reactions to drawings/models, collage building, brainstorming and wishful thinking exercises. Quantitative evaluations include conjoint analysis, concept evaluations and in-store testing after execution.
Shugoll Research recommends and has had reliable results using a systematic feedback program that invites customers who have recently visited your store to rate and comment on their shopping experience. We custom design evaluation forms using qualitative input to ensure coverage of all the key issues. The evaluations are distributed right after the shopping experience and are easy to complete ensuring accurate recall and high participation levels.
Over time, these data provide a picture of overall satisfaction, including what elements – service, quality, convenience, price – are most important when selecting a retailer, and measure how your service compares with others competing for the same customers. Evaluations can delineate variations in satisfaction on a chain-wide, division, region, district and store level. Trends are identified. Stellar stores can be used as models and problem stores targeted for improvement.
Shugoll Research’s senior staff includes several members with extensive advertising research backgrounds. In fact, our staff has over 30 years of advertising agency experience. This experience means that we understand the art and the science of testing advertising executions. We routinely conduct focus groups, one-on-one in-person interviews, dial testing, intercept studies and online studies to evaluate draft creative executions, and we follow these with pre-post and tracking studies to evaluate the impact of a campaign over time. We also conduct experimental designs where the layout, content and types and number of featured items in store flyers/ads are varied to determine the print ad layout that is most effective in grabbing consumer attention and motivating consumers to go to the store advertised.
We have conducted numerous studies to address the complex relationships among price, quality and service and how consumers perceive their comparative importance. Pricing is explored qualitatively and quantitatively in terms of the role of everyday low prices, good sales or specials and featured prices for frequent shoppers and the level of difference needed to be noticeable. Indicators of quality are identified for specific departments or product lines. Services from timesaving drive-up windows to in-store complimentary services are evaluated and test marketed. This testing matrix is then applied to different audience segments to reveal the most promising mix of price and service for each audience segment.
Using a combination of focus groups and conjoint analysis, Shugoll Research has helped clients identify the types of recognition and rewards that are valued most. The studies also provide for customer input to identify ways of customizing promotional communications and rewards so they match an individual customer’s shopping patterns and preferences, such as programs targeted to families with babies, pet owners, heath-conscious shoppers, etc. After identifying optimal program features through surveys with customers, results are tracked throughout implementation to quantify the program’s impact on share and revenues.
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