Qualitative Market Analysis
Qualitative research is an excellent way to back up assumptions and test theories about the market and is particularly effective if combined with quantitative research. A two-angled approach can provide a very solid understanding of local market dynamics and the viability of a retail node.
Focus groups are generally the most effective method of doing qualitative research. After the demographic and psychographic profiling of the surrounding community, target customer focus groups can be set up. For instance, if a large proportion of young families live nearby, mothers between the ages of 30 and 40 could be invited to participate in a focus group. Key questions could be:
- Where do you currently shop and why?
- How do you travel to these shops?
- Would you take advantage of day care facilities while you are shopping?
- Would having a “family room” with changing stations influence where you shop?
- Would you take your children to a Family Entertainment Centre? What kind of entertainment appeals to you?
- What kind of stores do you think are missing in your community?
Although focus groups do represent a cost, they also reduce market risk and provide an excellent venue for testing a project’s vision.
Furthermore, focus groups provide the groundwork for creating an effective marketing strategy for promoting the retail to future customers. Target customers should be able to identify with the Unique Selling Proposition (USP), and this should be promoted heavily in advertising. One USP which often comes up in discussions is sustainability. Being sustainable is a worthy target in itself, but will it influence customer behaviour? Some groups might identify with the concept, but for others it will have little impact. In the final analysis, to determine the power of a USP, such as sustainability, some sort of qualitative research is required.