Research into retail marketing analyzes consumers' buying patterns and preferences, identifies potential new markets or investigates new marketing strategies for the retail world. Market research is essential to marketing departments everywhere. They use research results to better market their products and entice consumers. And with the rise of online and social media, there are more opportunities to reach out to consumers than ever.
Establishing branding and brand recognition is the key for many companies. Creating a brand that the consumer can recognize and identify with fosters brand loyalty, meaning the consumer will automatically turn to that brand name over other similar products. Research in this area includes strategies for establishing brand loyalty in different media: through TV ads, online or in print. It also sees how brand loyalty fluctuates across different demographics; for example, Hispanic consumers tend to be extremely brand-loyal.
Consumer-generated marketing is a relatively new concept spurred by the Internet. Consumers market products themselves to other consumers through enthusiastic product reviews or via their personal blogs. This leaves some companies eager to reap the benefits of consumer-generated marketing to make it work for them. Some offer incentives for product reviews such as free samples or giveaways. And now, manufacturers are beginning to look to their users for ideas on new product development, design and distribution.
The rise of sites offering discount vouchers to area businesses may be a new marketing boon. Users opt-in to receive daily notifications of deals in their area. Retailers are eager to investigate the effects of this strategy. Some retailers worry that the voucher idea will lose them too much money, but vouchers have their benefits. They allow retailers to reach a new customer base with the lower price, and the deal itself advertises and generates buzz for the business.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is another bandwagon that retailers are eager to jump on, but figuring out effective social media strategies is the key here. Viral marketing campaigns through social media can be powerful, but they can also backfire and never catch on. One important topic for study is analyzing the effect of social pressure in online networks: determining which types of users are most influenced by friends' purchases online.
- Harvard Business School Working Knowledge: Improving Brand Recognition in TV Ads
- Market Research: How to Create Brand Loyalty Among Today's Consumers
- Harvard Business School Working Knowledge: Where is Consumer Generated Marketing Taking Us?
- Harvard Business School Working Knowledge: Is Groupon Good for Retailers?
- Harvard Business School Working Knowledge:Social Network Marketing: What Works?
Michelle Labbe has been writing online and for print since 2004. Her work has appeared in the online journals Reflection's Edge and Cabinet des Fées as well as in Harvard Book Store's anthology, "Michrochondria." She is pursuing a Master of Arts in publishing and writing at Emerson College.