Page 3: Market research
Market research is vital for collecting data on which to base the strategy. Market research takes one of two main forms primary research and secondary research.
- Primary research (also called field research) involves collecting data first hand. This can take many forms, the main ones being interview, questionnaires, panels and observation.
- Secondary research (also called desk research) involves collecting data which already exists. This includes using information from reports, publications, Internet research and company files.
Advantages and disadvantages
Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of primary research are that it is recent, relevant and designed specifically for the company's intended strategy. The main disadvantage is that it is more expensive than secondary research and can be biased if not planned well.
Secondary research is relatively cheap, can be undertaken quickly and so enables decision-making sooner. However, secondary research can go out of date and may not be entirely relevant to the business' needs.
Wilkinson undertook primary market research using questionnaires from students across the UK and secondary research using government and university admissions data. The statistics revealed that there were three million potential student customers. They had a combined annual spend of around £9 billion per year.
This research confirmed that the choice of focusing on the student market as a means of growth was valid.
Wilkinson undertook further research to identify how to reach students and persuade them to start shopping at Wilkinson stores. This information was used to formulate a focus strategy. This was aimed specifically at the needs of the student market segment.