Q&A: Consumer Market Research

In today’s retail climate, market research has become a major asset. Consumer insights provide valuable direction for both product development and marketing strategy—and deliver tangible sales benefits to retailers. While there’s no such thing as a guarantee, this kind of research can reveal unexpected information that help manufacturers make more informed decisions surrounding their product offerings. Whether testing the functionality of a design or the response to the styling, branding and POP, consumer insights help brands make sure that they’re conveying the best messaging possible. Market research can also minimize a lot of risk that comes with committing to a new line-up—or even help spur on a necessary refresh of an underperforming offering. With market tested collections, retailers can be more confident that they will connect with their target customers in a meaningful way.

How do consumer insights inform your decisions and benefit your retail partners?


QA_Colonial

Wes Keever
Executive Vice President of Sales, Colonial LLC

"As an in-store display company, Colonial relies heavily on our consumer research to tell us what is important to consumers at retail. It’s a given that our designs have to be on trend and have to last at retail for years, but the magic in consumer research is learning what consumers like and dislike while interacting with the product at the store. We also add RSA’s to research because it is important to know what materials help them when working with a customer. If something is cumbersome or hard to use, both the RSA and the consumer will shy away from it. Consumers come to stores today with a lot of knowledge. They are doing their homework and want someone to help them decide what is the best fit for them. Our goal is to display our partners’ products appropriately to give the consumer the proper perceived value. There are a number of subtle things that consumers see that may raise or lower their perceived value of that particular mattress. We love to hear consumers tell us why one mattress is more or less expensive than another in research, especially when we know that they are looking at the exact same mattress. Gaining that type of insight enables us to help our partners sell better mattresses because we believe it is going to help their customers make the right choice for them."

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QA_King Koil

David Binke
CEO, King Koil

"Research plays a critical role in our product development. We have taken several important steps in this area over the past year. The first step in this process was hiring the best product development professional in the industry today, David Long. When he joined us as executive vice president of innovation and marketing a little over a year ago, he conducted a brand audit. That included consumer research, which found that while we were strong in lower price point merchandise, we were not as well positioned in the ultra-premium category of goods. That’s why we have totally remerchandised our line as an upper-end brand using the latest in technology to deliver superior comfort and support. We’ve positioned it a notch below the ultra-high-end luxury products, which is a segment we believe is under-served. That gives our retail partners an opportunity for profitable sales in a niche where they don’t have a lot of competition. As part of our process, we underwent a rebranding to mirror the positioning of our strong new, upper-end product line. That path led us to a very modern and clean look with a new logo, positioning statement, top-of-bed and fantastic lifestyle photography and video. We’re reinforcing that upper-end message by revamping our website with more stunning photography and improved navigational tools, and we will begin shooting video for a new national television commercial that will be launched next year."

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Serta Simmons Bedding - Melanie Huet

Melanie Huet
Chief Marketing Officer, Serta Simmons Bedding

"The way people buy mattresses is changing—and fast. Consumer insights are critical to stay ahead of the curve, so we created a dedicated consumer insights team to help us deliver the products people actually want. We’re growing our direct-to-consumer business to create simplified, more convenient shopping experiences. Our research indicated that more than half (59%) of people have a difficult time sleeping because mattresses can get too hot, so we’re delivering a new iComfort mattress line to meet that need. We’re making strategic operational changes to be a better retail partner. We’ve optimized our supply chain and forecasting process, including implementing hub and spoke distribution to dramatically improve delivery times to R&I. Targeted marketing supporting for our streamlined, customer-centric product lines is helping increase sales both in-store and online."

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QA_Corsicana

Michael Thompson
CEO, Corsicana

"Consumer insights and analytics are the foundation of virtually everything we do. Our proprietary segmentation study of who buys bedding products and why provides tremendous demographic, attitudinal, behavioral and “path to purchase” insights that drive our branding, product development, in-store product selection, merchandising and marketing. We recently introduced branded products with distinct features and benefits that align with each consumer segment.  We also work with retail partners using consumer insights to test their private label brands or  develop compelling new brands with them. Our fact-based consumer insights allow us to collaborate with retail partners in a consultative approach to establish the product selection, merchandising and key selling benefits that resonate with specific consumer segments in their local market. As a result, our retail partners consistently drive increases in revenue, margins and store traffic."

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