Retail Services

Competition for market share between department stores, boutiques and discount stores, grocery and warehouse clubs, restaurants, specialty shops, and e-tailers has never been fiercer than it is today. Some of the critical issues our clients have been addressing through research include eroding brand loyalty, increased pricing competition and the trend toward time-saving conveniences.

Our team members have worked with clients across industry lines exploring ways to improve market share by addressing issues and opportunities in customer service, product quality, new product development, and value positioning.

A large part of our business is answering critical questions
and providing actionable direction.

Here are some of the questions members of our team
have helped retail clients answer over the years:

How can displays, point-of-purchase (POP), and other sensory cues build sales?

Our team members have designed and implemented custom studies for retailers that have led to informed decisions and improved sales performance. We have used simulated shopping experiences and in-store observations to help retailers optimize sales by identifying the ideal store layout, including placement of specific departments within a store as well as the ideal signage, shelf facing placements, and visual design.

We will conduct focus groups using a variety of projective techniques such as situational drawings, collage, picture decks, storytelling, and wishful thinking to understand shopping experiences to profile customers and identify their needs and expectations.

How can I minimize risk — and maximize profits — when introducing new products and services?

Our team members are experts at evaluating new retail concepts for clients with great success. From adding new services, adding or revamping departments, and designing new store footprints, we’ll provide valuable insights and projections regarding customer needs, expectations, intent to use, and most importantly, if proposed changes will profitably return the investment.

Among the qualitative techniques used to test new concepts are reactions to drawings or models, collage building, brainstorming, and wishful thinking exercises. Quantitative evaluations include conjoint analysis, concept evaluations, and in-store testing after execution.

How can we compare our customers' satisfaction with the quality of our products and services against those offered by our competitors?

For the best results, Limelight Insights by Shugoll recommends using a systematic feedback program that invites customers who have recently visited your store to rate and comment on their shopping experience. We custom design evaluation forms using qualitative input to ensure coverage of all the key issues. The evaluations are distributed right after the shopping experience and are easy to complete ensuring accurate recall and high participation levels.

Over time, the data will provide a picture of overall satisfaction, including which elements — service, quality, convenience, price — are most important when selecting a retailer, and measure how your service compares with others competing for the same customers. Evaluations can delineate variations in satisfaction on a chain-wide, division-wide, regional, district-wide, and store level. Trends are identified. Stellar stores can be used as models and problem stores targeted for improvement.

Is my advertising communicating the desired message?

Our consulting team includes several members with extensive advertising research backgrounds. In fact, our staff has over 30 years of combined advertising agency experience. This experience means that we understand the art — and the science — of testing advertising executions. We routinely conduct focus groups, one-on-one in-person interviews, dial testing, intercept studies, and online studies to evaluate draft creative executions. We follow these with pre-post and tracking studies to evaluate the impact of a campaign over time. We also conduct experimental layouts where the design elements and number of featured items in store flyers and ads are varied to determine the one that is most effective in grabbing consumer attention and motivating consumers for the desired result.

What is the ideal mix of quality, customer service, and price that will drive loyalty and market share?

We have conducted numerous studies to address the complex relationships between price, quality, and service and how consumers perceive their comparative importance. Pricing is explored qualitatively and quantitatively, in terms of the role of everyday low prices, good sales or specials, and featured prices for frequent shoppers. The level of difference required in order to establish a distinction is also explored.

Indicators of quality are identified for specific departments or product lines. Services from timesaving drive-up windows to in-store complimentary services are evaluated and test marketed. This testing matrix is then applied to different audience segments to reveal the most promising mix of price and service for each audience segment.

What kinds of customer loyalty programs can I use to compete more effectively?

Using a combination of focus groups and conjoint analysis, members of our consulting team have helped clients identify the types of recognition and rewards that are valued most. The studies also provide for customer input to identify ways of customizing promotional communications and rewards so they match an individual customer’s shopping patterns and preferences. These can include programs targeted to families with babies, pet owners, heath-conscious shoppers, and more. After identifying optimal program features through surveys with customers, results are tracked throughout implementation to quantify the program’s impact on share and revenues.

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