Market Research or Retail Coach?

Filed Under (NLP coaching for retail) on 01-11-2023

Tagged Under : , , , , , , , , , ,

Market research or a retail coach? What is the value of either to retailers, store managers, and sales associates? What are the pros, cons, functions of market research and a retail coach? Which one should a retailer or store manager hire for what purpose?

The value of market research and a retail coach

Market research = mystery shopping, analysing movements of the market, sales figures, and more. All these are data = information about how retailers perform. Market researchers are consumers – members of the general public. People of all ages, cultures, demographics, social spheres. Anyone can mystery shop, attend focus groups, fill in surveys. Hence the value of market research is the consumer’s raw view of the retailer, its products, stores, sales associates, services. Because people are different they bring diverse points of view from the customer’s side of the cash desk. The raw views bring value to retailers exactly because they are raw and very diverse. People tell the good and bad of their shopping experiences, and retailers can learn or not learn from the views.

A retail coach brings the opposite value. The retail coach works in the retail environment + is trained in communication. S/he therefore notices different aspects of the retailer’s performance from aspects which shoppers from the general public notice. A retail coach brings value in breaking down and explaining the details of the good and bad aspects of the retailer’s operation and service.

If a retail coach is trained in for example NLP, the retail coach will pay attention to how sales associates greet customers and why the way in which they greet is effective or ineffective. The distance from which they greet, the timing, tone, words, body language with which they greet are all within the domain of observation of a retail coach. And of course much more, such as frequent mistakes of sales associates or how retailers let themselves down, or advice for professionals of certain segments of retail.

In summary

market research usually brings retailers the big picture and raw data of what works and what does not, while a retail coach brings the details of why what works works, why what does not work does not work, and how retailers can improve what does not work. In other words shoppers from the general public feed back on the retailer’s environment and behaviour, while a retail coach feeds back on the retailer’s environment, behaviours, plus also capabilities, values, and identity – thus all neurological levels of observation.

The cons of market research

The cons of mystery shopping – market research are that members of the public who perform market research do not have training in communication, hence do not always know how to communicate accurately. Only accurate feedback has value, because retail is detail and excellence as well as the devil = when things do not work – is in the details.

60% of the population are generalists. Generalists notice the big picture. They don’t notice – and thus don’t know how to accurately define and describe – details. They know that they got a good or bad service. But if we ask them to define why, they won’t define, because their natural bias is to observe the big picture. They’ll therefore probably tell you “I don’t know why, I just didn’t like the way they did x. And who cares why? All that matters is that I will (not) go to that store again.”

And of the 40% of population who naturally notice the details a third will know how to use the right words for the right meaning, how to put the words into grammatically correct sentences, and how to order the sentences into an order that will make sense to a store manager or someone at the retailer’s head office on first reading. A third of 40% is too small a number to be enough to move retail to a better service overall.

…and the worst (the strongest con) for last…

Retailers hire market research agencies to send shoppers to them. Market research agencies do not treat shoppers well, hence a very small percentage of shoppers will be motivated to write their reports to great detail. The bad treatment plus (very) low fees that market research agencies pay shoppers result in the fact that many shoppers do the absolute minimum as quickly as possible in order to get paid. They don’t care about genuinely contributing value to the retailers for which they do the market research. As a result of this reality the quality of the reports is low = the value for retailers is low. Market research programs cost retailers money, and store managers [who read the reports] time and energy.

The con of a retail coach

There is only one con of a retail coach. The con is that the retail coach does not have the breadth of views which the public has. The retail coach cannot have the breadth, because s/he is only one person with one bias and style of observation as against many people with many styles of observation. But the value of the work of a retail coach easily make up for this con. The value is in the details that the consumer won’t observe.

So market research or a retail coach?

Market research for identifying where there is a problem when the sales are low. A retail coach for identifying why there is a problem when the sales are low. Even premium brand retailers have problems. Every retailer can learn. Do retailers care to learn and improve service? That is a subject for another article. I hope that this article brought you value if you are a store manager or someone at the head office of a retailer. Perhaps you have run a market research program for years and still don’t see tangible improvement in service. Might this be time to hire a retail coach to tell you why? Let this article be food for thought and inspiration.

Comments are closed.