There are many things that go into developing a successful business. This includes a great idea, the vision of a leader and a strong team to bring that idea to fruition. However, sometimes the more nuts and bolts parts of developing a successful business model don’t get as much attention. This is certainly the case for consumer research.

Without consumer research, some of the most well-known brands in the world may have never found success in the first place. With that in mind, below are three ways to perform consumer research that can really help your business.

Focus Groups

Focus groups may be a bit of a cliché. However, they are so common because they can produce tangible results in regards to seeking out the opinions of consumers. In the case of focus groups, it may be best not to seek out people that are already your customers. Instead, you can use these groups to obtain feedback from people unfamiliar with your company’s products and marketing materials.

Focus groups are especially useful for seeking input on products and marketing plans you have in development. Some of the opinions expressed can be used to fine-tune these products or ads so they are more effective. Seek out a diverse group for your focus group in regards to age, race and background so you can obtain a wide array of viewpoints.

In-Store Research

People tend to think of consumer research as being performed in malls by company representatives handing out paper surveys. While this is an effective strategy for gaining feedback from a random sample of people in a geographic location, you may get better results by gauging the opinions of people who are already your consumers in your actual store.

This way, you can learn what they like and dislike about your business after actually experiencing it in-person unlike would be the case with most of the people you would find in the mall. This can be done via paper, or you could learn consumer behaviors by their use of customer wi-fi. You’ll be able to get an idea of repeat business vs walk-in clients. This can translate to promotions that target who  your actual audience is.

Trial Runs

If you wish to have your product carried by retailers other than your own, trial runs of products is an excellent choice. This option can allow you to place a small amount of a product in the development stage in certain locations to see how they sell. You can then elicit direct feedback from those that bought and tried your product.

Overall, consumer research is vitally important to understanding consumers and their preferences. Without it, your company could be lost at sea in regards to figuring out how to hook in and retain a long term customer base. Whatever methods you choose, make sure market research is a priority for your company.