6 CPG Market Research Options for Excellent Consumer Insights

With a plethora of products to choose from on a shelf or website, it is key to understand how consumers will make their decision.

This is where consumer packaged goods (CPG) market research makes all the difference. 

From what colors are most attractive to what type of sales are most enticing to buyers, market research provides CPG brands with valuable insights that set products apart from competitors.    

In this blog post, Drive Research will discuss 6 types of CPG market research.

These methodologies will help your brand or product say one step ahead of the always-changing expectations and specifications of consumers. 

3 CPG Market Research Options for Excellent Consumer Insights

There are several market research options that CPG brands can leverage to navigate and succeed through the constant evolution of consumer behavior. Here are 3.


Defining CPG Market Research

CPG testing analyzes consumer attitudes when viewing products in a store, whether in-person or online.  

Several factors influence the product’s appeal and ultimately its ability to sell.

Depending on the medium, target audience, and product, some factors may be more significant than others. 

For example, shoppers in a grocery store may be drawn to food brands they are most aware of as online shoppers are more likely to make their purchase decision based on price.  


Benefits of Consumer Packaged Goods Market Research

Top consumer goods brands like Nestle or PepsiCo have access to dedicated teams responsible for their in-house market research. 

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to share the same budget of top consumer packaged goods companies to reap the same benefits of data-driven decisions.

A CPG market research company, like Drive Research, can easily navigate your brand through consumer’s everchanging desires, expectations, and needs. 

Having a partner who specializes in insights and consumer behavior analysis means your team quickly adjusts to market trends, while still focusing on your everyday tasks. 

CPG market research provides the consumer insights you need to stay competitive and win the battle of shelf space within grocery stores and homes across America.

Why hire a third-party market research firm? Here are five benefits that will sell you on a research partner.


Market Research Options for CPG Brands

Your options are endless. At a very high level, CPG brands can execute customer surveys, product focus groups, in-store shop-alongs, and more. 

The various methodologies our CPG market research firm suggest below are a little more in-depth and focus on new research trends.

Of course, these are not your only options, and which you may move forward with is dependent on your main goals and objectives for conducting research. 

Let’s dive in!


1. Brand Equity Surveys Among the General Public

An online survey can be a powerful tool for consumer packaged goods brands to obtain a pulse on the general public with respect to their company. 

A brand equity study specifically addresses topics like brand awareness, perception, associations, and the most important factors when considering a brand.

A major advantage of a brand equity survey is using the initial survey results as CPG benchmarks to understand how the dial moves for awareness, perception, factors of importance, and other metrics. 

This longitudinal study allows a CPG company to know how internal changes impact awareness and perception, as well as measuring awareness and perception changes for competitors.

In this short video, Drive Research shares 4 important questions to include when conducting a brand equity study to help get you started!


2. Mobile Ethnography Among Customers

Another market research methodology worth consideration is mobile ethnography. Some of the biggest challenges in the CPG industry are low brand loyalty and the abundance of competitors in the market. 

To overcome these barriers, CPG companies need to understand the decision-making that goes into selecting a product. 

To achieve this goal, some brands will choose to conduct in-person shop alongs. This methodology involves an interviewer walking side-by-side with a shopper as the grocery shop. 

If in-person shop-alongs are not possible, a mobile ethnography study is another great option!

What is mobile ethnography?

Mobile ethnography is a compelling solution for online consumer behavior research. 

It allows CPG brands to learn from consumers via their own words and actions. 

With a smartphone as the medium, consumers can complete activities like submitting video or photoresponses that offer multiple layers of insights.

Here are a few examples of how a consumer goods company may utilize this market research methodology. 

Example 1.) 

An egg producer would like to understand top factors of choice when consumers purchase eggs.

To measure this, a research participant must go to their local grocery store and video log themselves finding the dairy aisle and choosing a brand of eggs. 

The shopper must answer why they chose this brand of eggs over the others.

  • Is it because of the price?
  • Is it because they saw an advertisement for the egg brand?
  • Is it because they had a coupon?
  • Is it because the eggs were not cracked?
  • Is it because the eggs were healthier?

The video documentation will give a real-life look into their normal shopping habits and how the egg producer can remarket themselves as the top choice.

Example 2.)

A mobile ethnography study is not just limited to in-store purchases. Video recording and mobile diaries can take place in the participant’s home while the product is in-use. 

This approach offers a great perspective on how consumers are utilizing a product, food, or beverage in their most natural environments.

CPG companies can also observe valuable behaviors such as:

  •  What time of day it is used
  • What rooms is it used in
  • Who in the household uses it
  • How they feel while using it

The results from this kind of study may have direct implications for your R&D or marketing strategies. 

Remember, we are people selling to people. Market research can help find the marketing and advertising message that is most relatable to your target audience.


3. User Experience Interviews for a Website or App

What if your online platform is a major component of the consumer experience for your CPG brand?

User Experience (UX) research dives deep into how participants use a platform and what their thoughts are in real-time.

In a typical UX interview, a consumer is asked to navigate and complete tasks on a website or application while being recorded.

You will get the most out of this research if both the participant’s screen and device camera are recording the interview.

Findings from web interviews will shed light on the ease of use of a platform better than any other form of research.

You can identify issues regarding descriptions, titles, navigation tabs, images, links, and buttons that are often too specific to be mentioned in a survey or focus group.

This research is critical for CPG companies that prioritize online customer engagement and e-commerce.

You do not want to have any doubt that your platform functions and meets consumer needs as intended.


4. Shelf Testing and Eye-Tracking 

Where and how your product appears on a shelf is critical to its success.

Things such as shelf design, product design, and product position all impact the customer’s purchasing decision.

In-store or in-person shelf testing can provide you with answers regarding whether your product is positioned in the right place and capturing the attention of consumers.  

Participants are recruited and screened beforehand to ensure they’re reflective of your desired target market.

Eye-tracking software is used to see what products participants viewed, when they viewed it, and for how long.   

Eye trackers can measure a variety of metrics including changes in direction, attention, focus, presence, and pupil size! 

For in-person or in-store shelf testing, participants wear special eyeglasses that track and analyze their eye movements.

Also, remote and webcam-based eye-tracking systems are available for virtual shelf testing services. 

Benefits of Eye-Tracking  

The benefits of eye-tracking technology can help you better understand the customer and your product.

Some benefits include:

  1. Collecting exclusive details: Eye-tracking technology can gather hard to obtain information such as gaze points and fixations. These events occur quickly and may seem insignificant but they can tell you so much about your product.
  2. Reliable observations: The saying “the eyes don’t lie” remains true in market research. You can accurately measure some consumer behaviors simply by tracking where their eyes go.
  3. Consumer perspective: Seeing the store shelf from the consumer’s point of view is a tremendous advantage. By placing yourself in the eyes of the consumer, you’ll have a greater understanding of how to make your product stand out. 

Shelf-testing and Eye-Tracking Best Practices

To get the most out of your eye-tracking research experience, here are some helpful tips to consider. 

  1. Always over recruit. Be sure to recruit more than your initial target number of participants. Respondents may cancel late so you want to make sure your study can go on with a thorough number of participants.
  2. Offer a reward. Providing an incentive can be very effective if you experience difficulties in recruiting participants. This can include a cash stipend or a gift card. 
  3. Virtual shelf-testing is also a dependable option. Even as COVID-19 restrictions begin to loosen, some participants may still feel more comfortable in a virtual environment. New technologies allow for virtual shelf tests to be conducted in 2D and 3D! 
  4. Shelf-testing and eye-tracking services are affordable for all businesses. Research what technology and services make the most sense for your company and see what price range is appropriate.  

To learn more about low-cost market research options, read our blog post: What is the Most Cost-Effective Market Research Methodology?


5. Shop-Alongs

To analyze consumer attitudes in a store, shop-alongs are a great way to capture live customer responses in the purchase process.

An interviewer follows a customer around a store as they shop and asks them questions regarding their shopping decisions. 


6. Focus Groups

Focus groups are effective if you want to see how your product is perceived by a target demographic.

You can gather reactions on a variety of things including product names, logos, size, and price.

Check out our Syracuse focus group facility and the benefits it provides!  


Other services such as brand equity and package label test surveys are also available. No matter what CPG market research service you choose, Drive Research can provide you the answers you need. 


Contact Our CPG Market Research Firm

At Drive Research, we conduct quantitative and qualitative CPG market research to better understand consumer tendencies and preferences.

With consumer decision-making at a constant state of evolution, market research is more valuable than ever for consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands.

Contact us to design a custom market research study with consumers to obtain all of these insights and benchmarks for your team.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

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Consumer Behavior