We at CassarCo believe that the market research industry is poised for a revolution.
The tried and true research methods that allowed retailers to understand their customers and competitors served the retail industry well for decades. Market Share, for example, invented by Arthur C. Nielsen in 1932, remains as relevant today as it was nearly 90 years ago. But the tactics used to benchmark retailers’ performance against competitors and to understand consumer behaviors and motivations are showing their age.
It is harder than ever to generate a true representative sample of consumers via survey. Point-of-sale retail measurement systems continue to lack a true connection to the consumer. Panels that require that consumers go to great lengths to simply record purchases are as suspect as ever.
At the same time, the increasingly digital lives we live are creating ‘digital trails’ that allow researchers to see behaviors that were un-seeable before the advent of the Internet.
Efforts to ascribe behaviors to specific individuals make consumers and regulators justifiably uneasy. At CassarCo, we believe that analysis of consumer data at the individual level is unnecessary - that when these digital trails are anonymized and aggregated they can yield tremendous insight into consumers' behavior in the wild without making consumers uncomfortable.
Receipts in our email inboxes, when properly anonymized, provide researchers with a longitudinal view of consumer purchase behavior, down to the item level, requiring no effort on the part of the consumer. Credit card data panels track all purchase behavior longitudinally with massive raw sample counts. Mobile apps can track the paths of potential shoppers in a way that traditional store traffic measurement tools will never provide. Web site scraping tools allow visibility into competitive offerings on a real time basis with a fraction of the effort that periodic competitive store tracking used to offer.
This is just a sample of what is available, albeit in nascent form today. The rate of consumer adoption of new technologies promises that those with the imagination to chart new analytical territory will gain a critical edge on today’s and tomorrow’s competitors.
It is also clear to us that the retail industry is in desperate need of the context that competitive data provides. COVID-19 has rendered retailers’ 2020 plans moot. The only way for retailers to objectively evaluate their own performance is against the performance of competitors who are experiencing the same challenges and experiencing varying levels of success rebuilding their businesses.
At CassarCo, our highest goal is to uncover the hidden truths that digital trails are increasingly revealing. We aspire to accelerate the modernization of market research, identifying, curating, and - in some cases bringing to market - measurement solutions that will allow retailers to thrive in an environment of unprecedented disruption. An environment where maintenance of the status quo has never been a riskier bet.