Interviews are most useful when you have a restricted set of issues for in-depth discussion.
Focus groups are a powerful way to collect ideas, opinions, experiences, or beliefs about issues or programs because they allow for in-depth discussion, and the opportunity to clarify ideas and statements.
If you have a larger number of customers, or will be using interviews or focus groups, you would need to select a subset (a sample) to contact.
If the retailer doesn’t know what the customer wants, or ignores requests, clientele may lose interest and choose to shop elsewhere. Instead, the ideal course of action would be to learn about their consumers and then to learn about their interests. This provides the basis for developing a product mix that would be attractive to clientele.
A survey of Farmers markets in Pennsylvania was implemented in the beginning of 2012 to study information and technical assistance needs on the part of the markets, as well as characteristics of the markets that may define success. In addition, a portion of the survey of Pennsylvania farmers markets examined how Pennsylvania’s Act 106, and food safety issues in general, affected the markets during the 2011 season.
The people who study consumers tell us customers go through a very predictable sequence of events each time they make a decision to buy a product or service. The process may be brief, as with low value or impulse purchases, or quite protracted. The steps are basically the same. Understanding the customer's thought process can enable us, as retailers, to help customers make the decision to buy.
Benchmarking is a common business management method employed when owners and managers are interested in exploring not only current business features but also how a business changes over time. January, 2009. John Berry
Surveys are probably the most common method of gathering information from customers, and are particularly useful for understanding the proportions of your customers that fit a particular description. For example, you might want to know the percent of your customers who heard about you through your brochures, the average rating your customers give to potential products for next season, or the top three positive and negative qualities of your business identified by your customers.
There are several reasons and methods for gathering information about customers of direct market agricultural businesses. Regardless of the method you choose, receiving good data relies on the quality of the questions you ask.