There are many ways to conduct market research, in which businesses often choose one or more of the following five basic methods, including survey-surveys, group interviews, In-depth interviews, behavioral observations, and testing. The market research method used by the business is based on the type of data the business needs and how much they are willing to spend.
This method uses a brief questionnaire and gets straight to the point, and you can analyze the target customer group for your target market. The larger the sample is, the higher the accuracy of the survey results will become.
In-person surveys are usually conducted in public places like shopping malls. This type of market research helps you advertise, market product samples to consumers, and get instant feedback. Direct surveys ensure a feedback rate of up to 90% but require high costs due to the time and human resources demands.
This type of in-person survey requires a tablet or smartphone. The new technology also allows direct surveys using the questionnaire on the tablet, connecting to the survey management software on the server, providing additional features such as location check-in (thanks to the tablet's GPS), taking photos of the location or of the respondents (for authentication), confirming in real-time, as well as controlling the surveyors' travel itinerary. Thus, CAPI helps ensure the authenticity of the survey better than traditional paper questionnaire methods. This method also saves input and eliminates errors.
Telephone surveys are less expensive than direct surveys but more expensive than mailing. However, as people often react negatively to telemarketing, persuading people to participate in a telephone interview is becoming increasingly difficult. The response rate of this method is only 50-60% only.
Mail surveys are a way to get a large audience with just a little investment. This type of market research is much cheaper, but only receives an audience feedback rate ranging from 3% to 15%. Despite the low response rate, the mail survey is a less expensive option for small businesses.
Online surveys often yield unpredictable response rates and unreliable results, because you can't control the feedback. However, this is a simple and low-cost method of market survey to collect evidence, opinions, and preferences of customers.
Today, some tools can help motivate respondents, such as a money top-up to their mobile accounts as a thank you gift after they have completed the questionnaire. However, the online survey is only suitable for simple questionnaires or it must have a direct impact on the respondents.
In the group interview method, the facilitator will use a prepared set of questions or topics to lead a discussion among a group of people. This process takes place in a neutral place, with rotating equipment or an observation room with lots of mirrors. A focus group interview lasts from one to two hours, and you must conduct with at least three groups to get reliable results.
Just like in focus groups, in-depth or personal interviews will include open-ended, non-structured questions. This method usually lasts about an hour and is usually recorded.
Group interviews and in-depth interviews often yield better data than surveys and investigations. However, the results of this method may not be reliable because it does not represent a large number of potential customers.
Group interviews or in-depth interviews help businesses gain insights into customer attitudes and these are also great market research methods that help you decipher issues related to new product and service development.
Personal responses in the group surveys and interviews sometimes disagree with the real behaviors of people. When you observe customers' actions by recording when they are in the store, at work, or at home, you can observe how they buy and use the product. This will help you draw a reliable picture of your customers' shopping behavior and usage habits.
The development of technology allows businesses to easily observe customer behavior thanks to cameras, sensors, even over wifi, allowing businesses to know their customers’ interests, how long they spend on each location, their heat map, and the last stop before making a purchase, etc.
Bringing new products into selected stores to test customer reactions in real sales conditions can help you perfect the product, adjust the price, or improve the quality. Small businesses should try to build relationships with local retail store owners and shopping websites so they can test their products on the market.
This is a new market research method that is becoming more and more dominant due to its ability to study the detailed behaviors, habits, and preferences of the majority of customers on the Internet or through technology. With the support of Big Data and increasingly sophisticated monitoring tools, almost all consumer behaviors are exposed on the Internet or social networks in which they participate.