Market Research

By listening and questioning your customer, you will be able to provide the products and services they want. This series explores ways to know your customer.

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.

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.

If your customer base is small, you potentially could contact all of your customers. 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.

Interviews are most useful when you have a restricted set of issues you want to learn about but you’d also like to learn about those issues in-depth.

Focus groups are facilitated discussions within a small group of people (8-10) over a specific topic. 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. Because customers can talk with each other and not just the interviewer, new ideas and shared experiences often come out of the discussions.

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.

Market research for small business involves applying some basic guidelines and techniques to ensure your marketing plan and business decisions are right on the mark.

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

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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.