How market research can help you discover what your customers need and expect to keep them buying your services and products.

The following blog post was written by Sara Cruz, Research Analyst at RMS.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, everything changed. With stay-at-home orders, businesses closing physical locations and the abrupt shift to a virtual world, no one was fully prepared for the changes, especially businesses.

Now, as businesses re-open there is still concern and worry for many business owners.

Are consumers still more likely to buy online?

According to a study, about a third of consumers are shopping at pre-COVID-19 levels, they are just doing it online (source), while another study shows that online shopping is projected to be here to stay even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends (source).

So, as a business owner, the answer to your question is YES. Your consumers are more likely to purchase from you online moving forward.

According to the VP of customer and marketing insights at Adobe, “COVID-19 has changed business forever. We think that over the next couple of months we will see an even bigger focus on experience-driven e-commerce, as the competition heats up where consumers are now putting so much of their attention online.” (source).

As a business owner, you are competing for your consumer’s time and dollar, making it imperative that you offer and deliver exactly what they are looking for.

Three Ways Market Research Can Help You Rise Above the Competitors

#1 Speak Your Customer’s Language

One of the key ingredients in marketing is the language you use. In market research, we use the term Voice of the Customer (VoC). Simply stated, it means you need to know your customer’s language so well that in 30 seconds or less of reading your marketing material they think, “Wow, they are talking to me!”

You need to know the problem(s) they lie in bed at night and think about and be able to paint the picture of how your product or service will solve that problem.

Think about if you are marketing to a new mother and you have a product that will help their child fall asleep at night. Advertising “Help your child fall asleep at night,” isn’t really going to cut it, but saying “Are you frustrated with your nighttime routine with your child? Feeling exhausted staring at the bags under your eyes in the morning? X can help your child fall asleep in half the time, so you feel less frustrated and wake up ready to tackle the day.”

See the difference?

But, to do that you need to truly understand your customer and speak your customer’s language.

Market research can help!

Primary research — A professional market research company can custom design an online survey that asks important questions, so you truly get to know your customer. What they worry about, what problems they are experiencing, and most importantly the words they use to describe them. You can then take that knowledge and produce more effective marketing that will attract more customers directly to your company with credit card in hand and ready to press “BUY NOW.”

Secondary research — Market research can also entail researching what your customer is saying about the challenges they experience without directly asking them. A market researcher has the knowledge and skill to dive deep into the world wide web and find where your customer is hanging out. They are then able to skillfully search for keywords that are used over and over again by your customers, and provide you with empowering knowledge about your customer’s struggles, needs, and wants using their own words.

#2 Clearly Identify How Current and Potential Customers are Treated

Customer service is key to customer retention. According to Marketing Metrics (source), if customers have already bought from your business they are 60–70% more likely to buy again, but of course you have to provide the product or service they need and provide stellar customer service.

Customer service is not always dealing with complaints, it can also be timely responses to inquiries and questions, or simply be impacted by the tone a service rep uses to speak to a customer on the phone.

In a busy and loud online world, your business can increase customer retention by demonstrating strong customer service.

A market research company has the ability to conduct a “mystery shopping” study, in which trained professionals call your business and act as if they are a customer. A series of customer service rated topics can be quickly rated and assessed, and the market research company can provide a brief report sharing the strengths and weaknesses of the customer service your company provides.

The opportunity for your company to see where you excel and where you may need to provide more training or support to your customer service staff can enable your leadership team to up-level customer service and therefore increase customer retention.

#3 Know if Your Website is User-Friendly

As already mentioned, it is clear that the consumer spending online is not going away anytime soon. Meaning your company website has become even more important with the changing times.

  • Is your website user-friendly?
  • Can a customer easily navigate, find what they need and contact customer support?
  • It is understandable, visually appealing, and keeps a customer’s attention?

The only way to truly know is to ASK THEM.

If you do any reading about how long you have to keep a visitor on your website, it will range from 10–60 seconds. The point, it’s very little time. And, if they don’t stay, they obviously don’t buy.

A market research company can design an in-depth-interview study. This type of study would entail the customer visiting the website, followed by a trained professional interviewer asking a series of questions about their experience.

Not only do you have professionals designing the survey itself, have trained professionals who are conducting the interview so it seems more like a conversation, but you are also eliminating the fear of your customer being completely honest, since it is a third-party and not the President of the company asking. Also, reaching out to your customers and asking for their feedback also build rapport by demonstrating you, as a business, truly care about their buying experience.

As a business, the shift to online spending doesn’t have to hinder your sales, and market research can help you stand out in the crowd online.

Speak your customer’s language.

Amp up your customer service.

Have a user-friendly website.

Reach out to us at RMS; we are here to help!

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our research capabilities, please contact Sandy Baker, our Vice President of Corporate Development at or by calling 1-866-567-5422.