The last few years have seen research as a function undergo vital changes. With social distancing upending field research, researchers considered moving their activities online. As customer behaviors changed significantly, researchers had the choice to implement newer research methodologies to accurately capture consumer sentiment.
Without adaptation, it wouldn’t be possible for businesses to stand out in the current world – and research plays a major part in it. We’ve picked out the top consumer research trends that you need to be aware of, so your business can proactively lay the groundwork for success.
1. From recognizing to foreseeing: Research in the era of the customer
Customers are smarter than ever before. They are better informed and have a plethora of options to choose from. They also know what an excellent customer experience should look like, and they expect it with every interaction.
This is where consumer research can give companies the opportunity to meet and even exceed consumer expectations. Solid customer research can provide insights that not only help understand but also predict and anticipate customer needs – which is what customers expect today.
To derive higher quality insights faster, automation and technology-enabled research is the cornerstone. Like technology is playing a pivotal role in shifting consumer expectations, it is also playing its part in enhancing the way consumer research is conducted.
2. How technology has raised the bar: Research redefined
Traditional modes of research like surveys and focus groups, while important, fail to capture the true intent behind the customer’s decision-making process. Since the research cannot measure their hidden preferences and subconscious impulses, there is insufficient information to optimize customer experiences that resonate.
Cutting-edge technology like Artificial intelligence (AI), for example, has enabled researchers to collect information in ways that are invaluable for research purposes. AI technology attempts to “decode” human emotion by analyzing voice patterns, eye movements, facial expressions, and a variety of nonverbal cues.
Emotion AI can more precisely “read” human feelings and gauge the success or failure of a new venture by evaluating consumer responses to a proposed upgrade or new product launch. It can also ensure that each customer is targeted individually, increasing the chances of conversion or purchase.
3. From limited to unlimited: Inclusivity in research
Consumer research is becoming more technologically sophisticated, resulting in a wider reachable audience.
Researchers today have a lot of flexibility in how they reach customers. Consumers can take surveys on any of their gadgets at any time of the day, making for a more inclusive research environment.
This progression in research also means that research panels now have a wider reach and can provide businesses with the respondents they need at an affordable level. A larger and more accurate research panel ensures that the insights generated accurately reflect the perspectives of most customers.
For instance, AI-led integrated market research platforms like Entropik provide quality online panelsthat can help you deliver agility in your research as they provide on-demand data quickly and conveniently.
The goal of market research in the future will be to increase sample diversity, with a wider range of demographics represented and thus a greater opportunity for businesses to research the entirety of their target audience. This will result in more targeted and comprehensive business decisions such as product development, advertising, and social media activity.
4. The up-and-comer: Research Platformication (Integrated Market Research Platforms)
Consumer research is a complex science and isn’t without its challenges. The most common challenges include;
- the ability to chase high-quality insights without compromising speed,
- lack of skills and training,
- inefficient automation (the usage of disjointed tools and channels to acquire insights), and
- inaccurate or biased insights.
What if there was a single solution for all these challenges? Well, there is. And it’s an Integrated Market Research Platform.
It is essentially a no-code, online research platform that can consolidate multiple market research tools, allowing you to surface and deliver richer insights more quickly. It effectively bridges the skills gap and can be used to generate both quantitative and qualitative insights simultaneously (which was previously difficult and time-consuming due to the use of fragmented tools).
Research Platformication is the new kid on the block, and studies are backing its adoption. Qualtrics’ Market Research Trends report suggests that 67% of organizations planned to acquire new market research technology in 2022 (which is a 7% increase from 2021). Of the technologies that market researchers are investing in, customer experience solutions came out at the top.
For researchers looking to get their hands on such a tool, there are, fortunately, several good options in the market. For instance, Entropik is an integrated market research platform that is easy to use while ensuring robust insights. It uses AI technologies to aid in faster and unbiased decision-making for teams working on consumer research, insights, design, and product development.
5. The shift: From insights to strategy
The rising adoption of integrated research platforms will be the logical progression of market research. These platforms will equip researchers:
- to support the campaigns and reforms that their results stimulate, in addition to compiling and analyzing the conclusions,
- to advise how different business functions can effectively leverage findings, and
- to provide input on where research objectives should be focused to attain the best return on investment.
Researchers will be able to make sound decisions based on the data, leading to improved customer experience, customer connections, brand value, and more.
This shift from generating insights to strategy is imperative to turn customer insights into actionable changes.
Knowing about these research trends can help your company stay agile in an ever-changing marketplace. If you can meet current customer needs and, even better, anticipate future customer needs, you will have a stronger and more durable position in the global market than your competitors.