Competing Against the Online Grocers

As Amazon enters the online grocery market it looks like this could finally be a significant shift in the way Americans buy groceries. Traditional supermarkets, already getting squeezed between the discounters and mass merchandisers, perhaps have the most to lose. Recent consumer research (see our downloads section) shows there is some hope; the major advantages of in-store shopping are the ability to select your own meats / produce and inspiration gained by walking the store. Supermarkets need to emphasize their fresh offering now, more than ever. And if you can’t beat them, join them. The research shows that consumers would be significantly more likely to buy groceries from a grocer they already shop in-store at.

Posted in Consumer Research, Store Brands |

Consumer Research shows Shopping Apps eclipse paper coupons

A recent study we carried out for PL Buyer magazine showed that for smartpone users, mobile shopping apps were much more widely accepted than paper coupons. It also showed that retailer specific apps were not as popular as non retailer specific apps. Both sound like opportunities for retailers to up their game in this area!

The full report can be found in our download area.

Posted in Consumer Research, Store Brands |

Consumer Research explores Perceptions of price gaps

In recent primary research done for PL Buyer magazine, on health and beauty items, we found that a 20% price discount of store brand over national brand seemed to provide the optimum balance of discount and quality perception. The data showed that as the cost spread grew beyond 30%, more customers believed the quality of the product was inferior. At a 20% discount, about 10% of respondents believed the quality of the private label product was not as good as the national brand. At a 30% discount, that total rose to 25%. At a 40% discount, nearly half thought the private label quality was inferior to the national brand. The full report, Drugstore Buying Habits, is available in our downloads section.

Posted in Consumer Research, Consumer Science, Store Brands |

Pets more important than people according to Consumer Research?

A recent study done for PL Buyer magazine shows that people trust the quality of store brand pet products far less than they do for store brand grocery products. Do they care more about what they feed their pets than their own family? Perhaps because they can’t try the pet products for themselves they err on the side of caution. The full report is available in our downloads section.

Posted in Consumer Research, Store Brands |

What’s wrong with loyalty cards?

We recently surveyed consumers about supermarket loyalty cards. The consumers were fairly happy with them, with 68% being frequent users, 68% expressing above average satisfaction and 75% using between one and three cards. Here is what the consumers suggested to make loyalty cards a whole lot more enticing:

• Provide discounts on all shopping not just items you are trying to move
• Actually rather than discounts just give me cash back
• Give me a phone app so I don’t have to carry the plastic around

Posted in Consumer Research, Store Brands |

Sustainability low in needs hierarchy

In recent primary research we did for PL Buyer magazine using our national panel, we took a look at how sustainability influences the grocery consumer. We found that although consumers express the importance of sustainability they are not really willing to pay a premium for it. The basics of quality, price and nutrition rank much higher in the consumers mind.
Perhaps the way for the grocery industry to think about sustainability is, in a highly competitive market with all else being equal, it could be used as a differentiator. Or perhaps a less cynical approach would be to look at sustainability as a more efficient way of doing business that does not need a premium price tag and actually benefits the planet.
Here is how consumers ranked of the different sustainability attributes.

The full research article can be found in our downloads section.

Posted in Consumer Research, Consumer Science, Store Brands |

Hispanic Opportunity Growth

Are you getting your share of the Hispanic market growth? The facts are that Hispanics fueled 50% of the growth in U.S. in the past decade. Hispanics are dispersing across all of the U.S., driving job growth while holding onto language and culture. The downloads section has a presentation detailing these trends.
K. Fernandez & Associates is a Hispanic  &  Multi-Cultural marketing communications partner reaching the new face of America  in all of its diversity and complexity both in language of choice and English. We are passionate believers that a deep understanding of the consumer, the marketplace and your brand is essential in uncovering the key product attributes in order to drive your sales.

Posted in Consumer Science |

Facebook for Consumer Research

Facebook announced earlier this week it has reached 900 million members. This massive audience is a magnet for business and extremely attractive to research companies! Here is a quick recap of the different ways Facebook can be used to capture consumer opinions.
• PASSIVE MONITORING – there are several software offerings out there that monitor the web (and especially Facebook) to monitor comments about subjects you are interested in which often for a business is their brand. Researchers can look at the volume of comments and see if they are positive, negative or neutral. Companies can be reactive to what they hear about their products, services, advertising and people. I heard on the news the other day that investors are using this king of technology to predict market fluctuations!
• ACTIVE MONITORING – this is just like the first point but companies post responses, especially to negative comments, to try and influence the perception.
• OPEN-ENDED POSTS – companies can use their Facebook pages to get feedback from their most ardent customers. They can post open ended questions to get a quick feel of what customers think of a new idea or concept.
• FACEBOOK POLL – Facebook has the ability for a company to post a poll on their page. This allows for a more structured question and statistical analysis of the responses. However it is limited to one question at a time.
• EMBEDDED SURVEY – Some survey software tools have a Facebook App that allows you to embed a survey onto your page. Data is then analyzed in the standard way of that survey tool. A key benefit of the apps is they can capture demographic data for the respondent such as gender, location and age.
• FACEBOOK ADS – Using your company page limits you to members who are fans of your company. A Facebook Ad allows you target demographics and people with specific interests for much wider surveys. Of course you need compelling ads with incentives for people to respond.

Posted in Consumer Research, Consumer Science |

TV & Radio least effective in brand switching

In recent primary research we did for PL Buyer magazine using our national panel we took a look at how consumers think about grocery brands before shopping and then during shopping. We found that the majority of respondents usually know what brands they intend to buy before going shopping but the majority preview the other brands available before purchasing, with store brand being the main default purchase if a brand is not available.
We then delved deeper into what might make a consumer switch brands. The top promotion methods influencing switching brands are in-store price promotion followed by every day lower price and then better nutrition value. Recommendations from friends and family came in fourth, which really backs up well research into the benefits of using social media as a promotion platform. Electronic coupons, recommendations from store associates and TV/Radio advertising rank last! The death of TV/Radio advertising may be happening even faster than we thought!
Here is a full rank of the comparative scoring of the promotion methods:

* Other information on the label specified included organic, allergy information, specific nutrient / ingredient information and corporate social responsibility factors.

Posted in Consumer Research, Store Brands |

Using Children in Consumer Research

Children are becoming more and more influential in purchase decisions and may have the final say in whether or not a product becomes a household favorite. Their insights can be extremely valuable, and not just for products aimed specifically at them. However conducting research with children comes with particular challenges. Here are a few guidelines that can be used to help reliably predict children’s preferences:

What information will the children be capable of providing?
You must keep in mind that the children’s ages will affect their ability to answer research questions.  As children age their language skills, memory, and reasoning abilities are usually more mature and allow for more complex tasks.  However, we also need to remember to consider variations in children’s abilities even at similar ages.

How do we determine the correct test methods for different ages?
Since most of testing with children is concerned with their liking of a product we need to use the hedonic methods and/or rankings and ratings scales that have been demonstrated most appropriate for each specific age group.

How do we conduct the research?
Preschool age children are preliterate and must be interviewed one-on-one.  Children ages 5-7 still require assistance, but are capable of longer scales.  With children over eight the test can be self-administered with occasional assistance from the research staff.  Remember consent must be obtained from a child’s guardian to participate.

Where should these panels be conducted?
We must strive to create an inviting and friendly environment in which the children feel comfortable.  We should avoid using an authoritarian style and refrain from any comments which the children might feel are criticisms.   It is important that we communicate in a language they understand.

When should these panels take place?
As a general rule, mornings are a good time to conduct panels, as children are usually more alert.  It is best to avoid after-school hours when they are tired and need a chance to spend some unstructured time.  For foods serve them as close to the time of day they are normally consumed.

How will we handle the fact that children influence each other?
The research setting must be carefully managed in order to control the fact that friendships and other social structures might unduly influence the study’s results.

Posted in Consumer Research, Consumer Science, Sensory Research |