The steadiest growing sector in most economies is the F&B sector. It is also one of the most fiercely competitive markets. In India the F&B sector has a vast scope today with a rapidly changing face. Ever since the opening up of the Indian economy, the F&B sector has been flooded with new names and products — both Indian and foreign.
The flip side of this rapid development is the overcrowding of the market with new entrants coming in every other month. But this is far less than many developing and developed economies. This combined with the massive size of its population means that the Indian market still has an enormous potential. The perfect tool to exploit this are the consumer research services.
Understanding Consumer Research
Although we see it more as a part of market research, consumer research is actually a type of applied sociology that attempts to understand the attitudes, behaviour and preference of the consumer. In marketing we are usually concerned with how various marketing campaigns are received by the consumer, how it effects them and how their likes, disliked, moods and personalities affect their decisions.
It can involve observation, surveys, interviews and even experimentation. Most consumer research services include both quantitative and qualitative research. Although, it is concerned mainly with the study of the consumer, this field has a wide scope, including product, market, advertising and pricing research. This is because the consumer has a role in all these areas.
Most importantly, consumer research aims to understand the behavior of the most important factor of any business — the consumer. As a major B2C industry, consumer research is critical in the F&B sector. For foreign companies from UK and Singapore, this service is even more essential since they are yet to develop their own brand and niche.
There are simply too many benefits associated with consumer market research. Some of these are:
Gauging Demand: Despite the many names thronging the Indian F&B sector, there is ample space for newer entrants to grow and thrive. But it is important to know where this demand lies. Most companies fail because of an expansion that happened too early or too fast. For a new company it is crucial to gauge this demand. Consumer research shows us not just existing demand, but also the potential of growth in the market.
Building a Niche: One of the most effective means of growing in an overcrowded market is to build a niche for yourself. This helps in creating a brand that stands out and can, hence, find a ready market. But to do that, we must first find what the consumer is looking for — a particular area that can then be built into a niche.
For instance, consumer research services hired by a beverage company found too many sugar-based drinks in the market. Consequently, it started a new fresh fruit health drink line, carving a unique niche for itself.
Building Consumer Relationship: The F&B sector is largely consumer-oriented industry. In our social media-driven society, consumer relationships have become more important than ever before. But before we approach them, we need to know what interests them, their language, cultural and social preferences.
The only way to find this is through consumer research. But research is not just about initiating contact, it also evaluates how the relationship is built over the years.
Brand Evaluation: No matter how small, every business has a brand even if only the owner knows about it! Building a brand is a long-term strategy which must be planned carefully. The most important component of this is the consumer. Before building a strategy we must first find out how the brand is perceived by the consumer. Do they recognize it instantly? Does it have a positive or negative image? How is it positioned vis-a-vis other brands?
Predicting the Next Big Trend: In this fiercely competitive market, it is imperative that one stays a step ahead of the competition. The only way to do this is to innovate and find the next big trend. Consumer research services provide us an important tool for just that. By talking and observing users we can pinpoint emerging trends and concerns, their requirements and how we can meet them.
By geralt from Pixabay