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How will Dan increase sales?


Dan sits alone. It’s Monday morning’s team meeting. He sits with takeaway cup in hand, Biro in mouth, waiting for the rest of the department to arrive.

They own six coffee shops now. As a team, they’ve done everything, but sales are falling. Dan knows the Directors will suggest new flavours. A refurb. A new logo. But how do they know it will increase sales?

Just ask Rebecca

Rebecca is one of your customers, and she’s often in the Deli, across the road. She’s holding two bags of coffee in her hands. She looks at the packaging. She turns both upside down. She smiles. She puts one down, then picks it up again. She holds them both to her nose and chooses one – it’s your competitor’s coffee.

Why do people do what they do?

Imagine if you knew that the branding reminds her of something from her childhood – an unexplained, happy nostalgia. That she prefers the packaging because the coffee doesn’t collect in the corners when she tips it into the storage jar. That, even though it costs more, her work mates always comment on the lovely smell at 11am coffee break, and it makes her feel like part of the team.

She also spotted James Nesbitt had it in his loft-style apartment in the last episode of Cold Feet, and it makes her feel ‘on trend’.

And if you could glean all of that information, just from Rebecca, imagine what you could find out if you spoke to Andy, Claire, Simon and Kathryn too?

Market research helps you to understand your customers

It’s so easy to forget that our customers are people, with thoughts, preferences and habits. Want to know why they do what they do? Just engage with them.

Market research asks questions. It opens a dialogue. It’s also about listening and observing, helping you to understand your market, the thought processes behind your customers’ decisions, their opinions and beliefs. It even provides answers to questions you never thought to ask.

Engage with your customers and you’ll be armed with insight, answers and direction. You might discover:

  • Who is actually buying your product or service. Seems obvious, but understand this one and you’re in a great position to develop and nurture your relationship with them.

  • What their lives are really like. People are complex. But with this sort of insight, you could develop your product to satisfy a particular need.

  • Who your real competition is. Expect some surprises.

  • What image people have of your brand and why?

  • Why so many people buy your competitor’s product - It’s very rarely down to price.

  • What people think about your packaging and advertising. Does it evoke a particular emotion, fulfill a need or adequately inform?

  • Why, since reducing your prices, sales have fallen.

If you’re looking for answers - meaningful insights - you need to ask some questions.

As for Dan, the answers are partly down to the fact that more people aged 24-35 in his area are buying the delicious, ground coffee from the new Deli across the road, and taking it into work in a takeaway cup. They are doing this because it smells amazing, and because his place only has one barista serving between 7.30am and 9.30am, so the queues are too long. And since expanding his chain, older customers feel his coffee shops are less personal, so tend to opt for the competitor, where the staff still smile and enjoy a chat.

But he won’t find this out until he embarks on his first real journey of discovery – market research.

If you are looking for answers and meaningful insights, we are here to help you find the right questions to start your own market research journey.


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