The identification of market trends is a key factor in the analysis of market research. It is aimed at identifying what is trending in the sector that may impact the business or present opportunities that are a natural fit for the business in its constant pursuit of customer loyalty.
In order to effectively analyse market data, it must first be gathered, and this requires research.
Research methods can be primary (first party research) or secondary (research conducted by others) and qualitative (feelings, emotions and intentions) or quantitative (number, volumes and figures).
For retailers this can include any of the following:
- Ad tracking – periodic or continuous market research to monitor a brand’s performance using measures such as brand awareness, brand preference and product usage
- Advertising research – used to predict copy testing or track the effectiveness of advertisements for any medium via its ability to gain attention, communicate the message, build the brand’s image and motivate the consumer to purchase the product or service
- Buyer decision process research – determines what motivates people to buy and what decision-making process they use
- Internet intelligence – searching for customer opinions on chats, forums, web pages, blogs etc where consumers share their experiences with products, becoming strong opinion formers
- Mystery shopping – an employee or representative of a market research firm poses as a genuine shopper to record and analyse the shopping experience. Often used for quality control and researching competition
- Store audit – measures the sales of a product or line at a statistically selected sample store to determine market share or determine whether a retail store provides adequate service
With so many potential sources of information the key is to select those most able to provide the intelligence that the business requires. Too much information makes it a challenging process to ascertain which has the most value. It is preferable to take a quality over quantity approach and pay close attention to the source and method of data collection to ensure effective data analysis.
The distillation of the most valuable market research into analysis that has the potential to guide future organisational decision-making is a core retail marketing competency. This analysis must always be conducted through the lens of what the business most needs to know in order to secure its ongoing profitability and sustainability.
It follows then that the resulting analysis would be of significant value to key business stakeholders.
The frequency of such reporting is largely an internal organisational decision as it the priority list of stakeholders who need to receive the information. What is consistent however, is the need for the information to be relevant, current and presented with clarity to highlight the opportunities and challenges the business is both facing at that moment and likely to face in the near future.
Consider what 2019 trend predictions have impacted Australian retail and to what level. It is the task of retail marketers to investigate trends and analyse them in an attempt to ascertain their likely impact upon the business and sector. This can assist is evaluating potential negative impacts in order to develop effective contingency plans. Equally trend analysis can substantiate varying business strategies from growth to customer acquisition and in the process support effective business decision making.
The ARA Retail Institute runs multiple workshops on retail, planning and strategic management. Join the ARA Retail Institute in their latest workshop which looks into how to analyse merchandise performance results and follow an organisational strategy to plan and enhance ongoing merchandise performance.
About ARA Retail Institute
ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. For more information, please visit: www.retailinstitute.org.au