6 Tested Tips to Improve CRO by Reducing Abandoned Shopping Carts

In an age of complex, multi-channel marketing, conversion rate optimization can offer quick ROI improvements without a large investment.

Online sellers generally think of their shopping cart as the bottom of their sales funnel. The problem is, according to information gathered by BigCommerce, is that the funnel’s not only expensive — it’s also leaky. In the U.S. alone, marketers spend over $20 billion to drive visitors to their shopping carts and enjoy, on average, just a 2.68 percent conversion rate.

One of the biggest leaks commonly occurs right there at the bottom of the funnel. That’s when potential customers abandon their shopping carts. For instance, BigCommerce found that average businesses suffer an abandonment rate of close to 70 percent. On the positive side, at least a high abandonment rate can narrow down the problem to one point in the marketing funnel. In other words, the position of the problem can also offer some clues to finding actionable insights.

With that in mind, consider some conversion rate optimization tips to reduce cart abandonment and recoup more of that marketing investment.

Use a CRO marketing perspective to reduce abandoned shopping carts

CRO simply refers to conversion rate optimization. To find a shopping cart’s own abandonment rate, simply compare the number of purchase to the number of filled shopping carts. As an example, one purchase for every three filled shopping carts equals an abandonment rate of 67 percent, which is just about average. Businesses should start out by calculating their own rates, so they can have a handy metric to gauge improvement.

Six tested tactics to reduce cart abandonment rates

Few companies can completely eliminate shopping cart abandonment. At the same time, even moving the needle just a few percentage points can dramatically improve revenues and profits. Better yet, better conversion rate optimization generally doesn’t require a large investment and may even employ tools and information that businesses already have.

1. Make total costs more transparent

Online shoppers may arrive at an eCommerce site because they saw promotion that advertised a great deal. Very often, they can only see shipping, taxes, handling, and extra costs after they’ve already added items to their cart for viewing. Businesses should not assume that customers will hit the buy button just because they’ve already gone to the effort to fill up their shopping cart.

Even worse, consumers may feel tricked and less likely to revisit the seller again. Some businesses have thrived by offering free or discounted shipping with minimum orders. Not only does this promote transparency, it even encourages customers to make larger orders.

2. Offer more payment options

Not every customer wants to use a credit card for online purchases. Some may prefer a digital wallet, debit card, or even a draft from a checking account. Many businesses have also optimized conversions by offering financing plans for big-ticket items, like TV sets and bicycles. Some customers may even prefer to split a payment between methods, and most local stores allow this.

In any case, offering flexible options for payments generally leads to quick conversion rate optimization. In contrast, retailers that only accept one payment method will probably lose business to more flexible competitors. 

3. Exit popups

At the least, an exit popup might gather information about the reason a customer decided not to commit to their purchase. At best, they might offer a promotional discount on the price or shipping. The popup might also display an offer to enroll in a loyalty program which will provide customers with future incentives. This will also benefit the business by adding more people to their subscriber list. 

4. Followup emails

Less intrusive than popups but somewhat less likely to get viewed, emails can also help recover abandoned shopping carts. As with exit popups, businesses can use this form of communication to offer discounts, especially in return for information about the reason the customer abandoned the shopping cart in the first place.

5. Employ social proof

Testimonials from satisfied customers, links to third-party reviews, and ratings from such business sites as the BBB can also prompt customers to complete their purchase. Social proof can help build customer confidence because it gives customers and other independent parties the chance to tell their own stories about a business.

6. Earn customer trust

Search Engine Land called Amazon’s ability to earn customer trust its true competitive advantage. Not only do consumers rely upon Amazon’s transparency, refund policy, and customer service, a majority of them trust this large retailer to protect their privacy and personal data.

Some steps that any eCommerce step should take to build a trusting relationship with customers include:

  • Clear refund and return policies
  • Responsive customer service, perhaps including chat boxes customers can use during their purchase
  • Transparent prices and other costs
  • Communication of privacy protection and data use policies
  • Other trust symbols, like security and compliance logos

Why start optimizing conversions by reducing shopping cart abandonment rates?

The list above addresses common reasons why customers abandon shopping carts. Still, some other causes might include an unintentionally difficult or complex checkout process or consumers arriving at an early stage of their buying process. That’s why businesses may also want to conduct some A/B testing with various processes and collect customer feedback.

Still, on the positive side, most companies have complex, multi-channel marketing plans. At least, isolating conversion optimization problems at the shopping cart stage means the customers have traveled pretty far along the funnel. This stage offers a narrow focus and a good place to earn some quick gains in sales.

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4 Great Holiday Retail Marketing Campaigns and Why They Work

Holiday shoppers research purchases and respond to retail advertising promotions. See four classic holiday retail marketing campaigns.

With the scent of pumpkin spice in the air, ’tis the season for holiday advertising. Of course, businesses have plenty of good reasons to ramp up retail marketing during the holiday season.

According to WordStream, 80 percent of seasonal shoppers research purchases on the internet before buying. In addition, over three-quarters say they’ve changed their mind about a purchase after performing a mobile search. At least a third of people say they’ve bought things over the holidays because of a promotional offer. In any case, this season sparks holiday retail purchases, and businesses must market to make sure shoppers can find and remember them.

Four Favorite holiday retail advertising campaigns

For some inspiration to get into the holiday marketing spirit, consider some of the best seasonal advertising campaigns.

Home Alone with Google Assistant 

Most shoppers remember “Home Alone,” the classic holiday movie from the 1990s. Google produced a video parody of this movie, which of course, featured Google Assistant and even the adult version of the original child star, Macaulay Culkin. The video scored tens of millions of views and lots of social buzz. It works well because it combines nostalgia, humor, and the relevance of demonstrating how people can use the app.

Starbucks red cups

No brand marketing agency can discuss holiday advertising without evoking the scent of pumpkin spice. Actually, this all started with Starbucks themed holiday cups back in 1997. Every year, the cups get a different look that mostly reflects traditional holiday designs. Mostly, the decorated cups signal the introduction of the coffee chain’s holiday menu, which of course, includes pumpkin spice.

Over the years, the campaign has generated excitement and even a little controversy. Mostly, the company uses fairly traditional or recognizable seasonal designs. For one memorable year, they introduced a plain, red cup with their logo, which displeased plenty of customers. If people like the current year’s cups or not, they earn Starbucks plenty of press and social media attention that’s paid off for the business.

Coca Cola’s polar bears

Coca-Cola has a long history of savvy and effective holiday advertising campaigns. For instance, lots of people believe the soft drink company contributed a lot to the modern version of Santa Claus during the 1930s. The Coca-Cola ploar bears arrived as holiday mascots during the 1920s, even earlier than Coca Cola’s Santa.

The cartoon bears work well because they’re cute and fun. More recently, the company has even used them to help raise awareness of the impact of global warming on real polar bears. Since 2011, Coca-Cola has contributed and raised about $5 million dollars to help preserve habitats. 

Though considering the billions of dollars in profits that the company has made from these playful animals, the World Wildlife Federation has criticized the company by saying that they ought to do more.

Apple’s “The Surprise” video

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many retailers struggle to send out the right holiday message. While they want to promote a positive message, businesses need to remain mindful that just about all of their customers have endured a touch year.

The Surprise” video from Apple hits many of the right notes by mixing hopefulness with a hint of sadness. A family goes to visit their somewhat cranky grandpa, who has just lost his wife. On Christmas morning, the kids cheer him up with a sweet, sentimental video that — of course — they created on their iPad. The engaging video tells a story, elicits a few tears, and like the Google Assistant video, demonstrates the usefulness of the product.

How to hit the sweet spot with holiday retail marketing

Movie parodies, disposable, holiday-themed cups, imaginary bears, and sentimental videos may not appear to have much in common. Still, they all evoke nostalgia for holiday traditions, or in the case of the year of Starbucks plain cups, stoke attention when they don’t.

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How to Put Aside the iPhone and Hire a Video Production Company

Advantages of hiring a video production company over DIY iPhone marketing videos include effectiveness, creative input, and even cost and time savings.

The IPR College of Creative Arts recognized that plenty of videographers produce relatively high-quality films with nothing more than their iPhone camera. Still, they pointed out that just a few issues of using a cellphone to create videos include storage limitations, potential lighting problems, and difficulties with post-production editing.

Most of all, the DIY approach to creating marketing videos can actually cost more in lost time and the chance of not creating the most effective products. Companies that want to represent themselves well should consider working with an experienced video production company.

Important benefits of working with a video production company

Most of all, creating professional and effective videos involves a lot of work and craftsmanship. An investment in a video production company can ensure videos communicate the right message and do a good job representing a brand. It’s important to consider these important benefits of working with a video advertising company on marketing video production:

  • Production values: Producing high-quality, engaging videos requires an investment in equipment and editing software. Perhaps most important, it also takes experience and training.
  • Creative ideas: Since a video marketing agency has experience working with other companies, they’re likely to contribute new ideas, or at least, objective input. Having other sets of eyes and ears on the project will probably yield more polished results.
  • Marketing talent: A video advertising company will help ensure that the video speaks to the market audience in a professional and engaging way. They know how to assess an audience. Just as critical, they know what works and what doesn’t work so well.
  • Efficiency: Any marketers trying to produce their own first videos will spend plenty of time trying to get everything right. A good video production company will already have an efficient process in place, and this avoids wasting time or money.
  • Dependability: The professional videographers know how to set up shooting locations and hire talent. They’ll take care of everything and make certain the project gets completed by the promised deadline.

How to hire a video advertising company

Of course, all video marketing agencies won’t have the same capabilities. These suggestions can help ensure the chosen company can meet expectations.

Look at their most recent marketing video products

Most video marketing agencies will post some demos to their business website. At the same time, lots of these agencies don’t update these demo videos frequently. They’re likely to also have social media pages, and as active marketers themselves, they should keep these updated. If not, send a quick message to ask for links to recent samples.

Find out if the video marketing agency specializes in certain niches or markets

In particular, look for video production companies that have samples for similar businesses. Some of these agencies specialize in certain niches and may have particular experience with closely related markets. The don’t necessarily need experience with a company exactly like a particular client’s business. At the same time, a video production company that specializes in live music events might not be the best fit for a dog food supplier.

Ask for ideas about video marketing

Asking prospective agencies if they have any ideas about an organization’s video marketing can serve multiple purposes. Obviously, input from professional video agencies can provide valuable information. In the early stages before making a commitment, sharing ideas will mostly serve to help understand how the agency would approach a particular market. Perhaps most important, it should start a conversation that should demonstrate that the company is interested in the client’s business and willing to work as a partner.

Preparing for that first conversation with a video marketing agency

It’s most important to begin with a good understanding the objectives that the project should help satisfy. These should support overall business goals and might include increasing brand awareness, attracting new customers, or even retaining existing ones. Even better, propose some solid metrics to help measure the project’s effectiveness to ensure everybody’s operating under the same assumptions.

Clients shouldn’t need to have planned every detail of their video campaign before meeting with a video production company. In fact, companies hire these agencies to develop, create, and perfect the product.

Why hire a video production company?

Very small businesses might start out by producing their own videos with an iPhone or other simple equipment. Still, the end product from professional video agencies can multiply returns on investment in terms of expertise, savings, and the effectiveness of the final product.

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Everything You Need to Know About Living in Austin, Texas

Learn everything you wanted to know about what makes Austin, Texas weird from the people that call it home. Download our Austin, TX research report to review all of the details.

Introduction

The capital city of Texas, Austin is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the seat of Travis County.  Located nearly in the center of the state, Austin is about three hours south of Dallas; three hours west of Houston; and about 90 minutes north of San Antonio.

Experiencing a population growth of 34.1% between 2007 and 2017, the Austin region is one of the fastest-growing in the country  Austin has been the fastest-growing major metro in the country for nine straight years, from 2010 to 2019. The metro population jumped to an estimated 2.2 million people as of July 1, 2019, according to the United States Census Bureau. That is an increase of 2.8% from the prior year, bigger than any other metro with at least 1 million residents. That’s 169 people added every day, on average.

With a vibrant, well-educated, and youthful population of 2.2 million in the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the median age in Austin is 34.7 years. Of Austin’s population aged over 25, 44.8% have a Bachelor’s Degree. Leading the US in tech salary growth, it’s the number four city tech workers would consider moving to.

Austin’s laid-back, take-it-or-leave-it kind of attitude matches well with its fun and “weird” culture, celebrated on bumper stickers and T-shirts with the slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.”

“Everyone is welcome and has a place somewhere here. And it just makes it such a unique place because you just never know who you’re gonna meet or what experience you’re going to have just ‘cause there’s so many different things.”

Jamie E, 38

Austin Neighborhoods

  • Downtown Austin is popular with younger residents with middle to upper household incomes. These Austinites love the convenience of being just blocks from shopping on Congress Avenue, live music venues on 6th Street, and even some great parks, hiking, and biking along the Colorado River. 
  • Across the Colorado River from Downtown Austin sits South Austin, where young, artsy types congregate. Barton Heights offers great family areas, while Travis Heights and Bouldin Creek attract mainly hip, liberal Austinites.
  • North and Northwest Austin include Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Leander, which attract a lot of families. The Leander is an award-winning school district, and Apple and Dell have large operations in the area. North Austin also has some great luxury apartments. These fast-growing Austin neighborhoods are popular with families.
  • West Austin has some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city, such as Westlake Hills and Steiner Ranch. The commute into town is a bit longer than in other areas of Austin, but residents are closer to Lake Travis and the great outdoors. Neighborhoods Oak Hill and Circle C Ranch are further south.
  • Although East Austin used to be considered the poorest part of the city, the area is now mostly a hipster neighborhood with many sleek, modern developments. 
  • Southeast Austin is home to a lot of University of Texas students, likely because of the large numbers of apartments and other rental properties in the area.

“I am in a tiny house in East Austin. With three dogs – I have two Huskies and a mix. You’d be surprised the people who to live in the tiny houses where I’m at.”

Shelly S, 42

Doing Business in Austin

The Austin region offers businesses deep talent, education, quality healthcare, telecommunications, and a modern, international airport.  The major employers include: Amazon, AMD, Apple, Charles Schwab, Dell, General Motors, IBM, Intel, National Instruments, Samsung, Tesla, VISA, and Whole Foods.

Key Industries include:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Clean Technology
  • Creative & Digital Media Technology
  • Data Management
  • Financial Services and Insurance
  • Life Sciences
  • Space Technology

The growth isn’t slowing down any time soon. The new Tesla Gigafactory, set to be located in eastern Travis County, will be one of the world’s largest and most advanced automotive plants and will bring an estimated $1 billion in capital investment to the region.

In addition to being home to tech giants, Austin has a thriving startup scene. Austin area startups attracted $2.2 billion across 263 venture deals in 2019. Startups account for a larger share of businesses in Austin than in nearly all major US metros and Austin ranks 6th for new businesses per 1,000 population.

“A couple of my friends work at Google and Facebook and they’re always saying so many people are moving in. I would say those apartment complexes are definitely to cater to people like that. Cause it’s like the new hub.”

Madison P, 28

The Cost of Living in Austin

Texas consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most favorable business climates based on its low tax burden and competitive regulatory environment. Texas features no personal or corporate income tax, and overall the state has one of the lowest state and local tax burdens in the US.

According to Austin’s Chamber of Commerce, the cost of living is 2% lower than the national average.

Austin Apartment Costs

Renters will generally find more expensive prices in Austin than most similar cities. The median two-bedroom rent of $1,450 is above the national average of $1,193. The city’s median one-bedroom rent is $1,175. While rents in Austin fell moderately over the past year (-0.6%), many cities nationwide saw slight increases (+0.2%). 

According to RENTCafé, these 5 Austin neighborhoods offer a good selection of rental apartments, unique dining, shopping, atmosphere, walkability, and a sense of community:

  • Downtown Austin (average rent $2,200/mo)
  • Central Austin ($2,100/mo)
  • Clarksville, between downtown and the MoPac Expressway ($2,100/mo)
  • Zilker, South Austin ($1,400/mo)
  • Travis Heights, South Austin ($1,400/mo)

What Austin Renters Want

No two renters are the same but many Austin renters are consistently seeking features and amenities. Here are the top things tenants report looking for in a property: 

  • Convenient Location – People want to live, work, and play in a geographically convenient circle. If your multifamily property is located near the University of Texas, show how it’s a convenient walk to campus to appeal to professors, graduate students, and staff. Similarly, if you have property near the new Apple campus, play up this proximity and go after Apple employees.
  • Pet-Friendly – The American Veterinary Association estimates that 50 percent of renters have pets and that 3 out of 10 renters without pets would have pets if their landlords allowed it. Allowing pets in your multifamily property opens up your prospective pool of renters and provides you with a competitive edge.
  • Key Appliances – Renters are on the lookout for properties that have garbage disposals, washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and microwaves. In higher-end rentals targeted at tech industry workers, potential residents may expect smart thermostats and TVs.
  • Connectivity – Wireless connectivity is extremely important to renters. Ninety-one percent of renters say reliable cell reception is important, and 44 percent say they won’t rent without reliable cell service.
  • Outdoor Living – One of the bigger benefits of living in Austin is the ability to enjoy warm water all year round. Tenants respond positively to multifamily properties that offer outdoor living space such as balconies, patios, or decks.

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment

The city’s official slogan promotes Austin as “The Live Music Capital of the World”, a reference to the city’s many musicians and live music venues. It’s also home to events like Austin City Limits and SXSW Music, Film, and Interactive.

Instead of the flat terrain common to most of the state, visitors are greeted with stunning vistas, rolling hills, and wildflowers. Austin’s natural setting, in one of America’s most unique landscapes, offers plenty of opportunities to get outdoors for fitness, recreation, and relaxation.

Austin has a reputation as one of the nation’s fittest cities, since there’s plenty to do outside to stay fit and enjoy an active lifestyle in the area’s mostly temperate climate. 

Ask any Austinite about their favorite sport and you’ll hear about everything from football to roller derby to cycling to kayaking. Austin is also home to many sports teams including:

  • Austin Spurs: NBA D-League Basketball Team
  • Round Rock Express: AAA Baseball Team
  • Texas Stars: AHL Ice Hockey Team
  • Texas Longhorns: Big 12 Conference College Sports
  • Austin FC (2021): Major League Soccer
  • Austin Bold: United Soccer League
  • Circuit of the Americas: Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, INDYCAR Challenge, MotoGP
  • Austin Herd: Major League Rugby

“The music scene is one of the things that was appealing to my husband and me when we moved here. Austin is the live music capital of the world. Every single weekend there is live music from local folks and from up and coming artists from around the country. And it is every type of genre that you can think of – from rap to alternative to bluegrass country. It is really culturally diverse.”

Theresa M, 39

Read the full research report: Austin, TX research. We interviewed Austin, Texas residents to find out why they live there what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.

Using Biometric Research to Measure Customer Reactions

Biometric research can help measure and evoke responses from customers. See how a market research company helps you understand customers with biometrics.

Biometrics refers to measurements and calculations of human features and behaviors. Most people still associate commercial biometrics with security, like thumbprint and facial recognition readers. Yet marketers already use this technology not only to measure reactions in labs but even to evoke them at home or out on the street. Find out how a market research agency might suggest incorporating biometric research into the data that can help drive successful, data-driven marketing.

How businesses use biometric research for marketing

To demonstrate how a quantitative and qualitative market research agency might use biometrics to improve marketing, Bloomberg highlighted the example of Expedia. Their market research company invites actual customers into their lab with the enticement of a gift card and a chance to help improve their experience with a service they already use.

Inside the lab, a young woman checked flights and hotels for a trip she had already planned with her family. While she used the website as she normally would at home, a researcher watched her through a two-way mirror, eye-trackers tracked where she looked, and sensors monitored facial muscles that would detect any trace of a smile or frown. After the experience, the subject also filled out a survey to help enhance the researcher’s understanding of the experience.

Expedia stored this information along with data from other research subjects, so they could use it to better understand users and, in turn, keep improving the customer experience. As a travel company, they understand that emotion drives vacation planning. They also know they need to discover the feelings of trip planners better in order to design an experience that can compete with online rivals.

Note that Expedia has not just survived but remained competitive since 1996. Unlike so many rivals, they survived the tech bubble in the early 2000s. While they haven’t always executed every business move perfectly, the company credits at least some of their success to a constant drive to understand the motivations of their customers. Their leadership in biometrics offers one good example.

Using biometric tech to test products and designs

Besides facial recognition, some technology can also measure galvanic skin response, often called GSR, or simply “sweat response”. GSR measures the state of arousal and requires sensors applied to the skin, so it’s usually done in a lab.

According to the National University of Singapore, marketers employ GSR in several research applications for product or website design. Even though this tech can measure arousal, it can’t say if the reaction comes from a positive or negative response, so it’s best combined with other methods, such as surveys or facial recognition.

How biometrics research can assist customer-facing marketing

For a different take on using biometrics for marketing, Trend Hunter descended into a subway to report on the example of Coca-Cola’s Coke-Moji displays. The marketing research agency for Coca-Cola was not so much interested in gathering quantitative data from biometrics, but in using it as a tool to engage consumers. Just as on the internet, subway users can develop ad-blindness because of the daily barrage of consumer marketing they see in the station and on the trains.

The display showed people who passed by an emoji shaped like a bottle cap. Sensors read facial expressions, and then the emoji playfully duplicated them. The device worked to engage people and, perhaps, even brighten their mood a bit.

Walmart is also using facial recognition technology in a more subtle way to help improve customer experiences. They’re developing a system that will use sensors at the checkout counter to detect dissatisfaction and then alert employees to offer assistance. They also plan to keep this information to correlate mood with purchasing behavior. Walmart hopes this data can help them find and resolve pain points in order to improve revenues.

Why work with a market research agency to employ biometrics?

The world’s largest and most successful companies know they need to understand their customers better in order to engage and serve them. Combining data from biometrics sensors with subjective experiences from consumers can help them achieve this understanding. A quantitative and qualitative marketing research agency can work to help their clients employ the right combination of research tools to help their customers achieve this goal.

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Why Market Research Online Communities Make Sense

For qualitative research companies, market research online communities provide an efficient, flexible, and robust tool for generating consumer insights.

These days, people connect online with each other and with the companies that they patronize. That’s one reason why a qualitative marketing research agency may suggest using online communities to gain a deep understanding of customers.

Market research online communities only came into being about a decade ago, pioneered by the UK’s Further, which describes itself as a Human Insights company. Further’s team saw the potential of emergent Web 2.0 technology to conduct qualitative research online. Despite the relative newness of using these online research groups, they’ve rapidly gained importance as a way to help data-driven companies better understand their market.

What are market research online communities?

Sometimes called “MROCs” or “insight communities”, marketers might compare market research online communities to traditional focus groups. Instead of gathering the group together in a room, qualitative research companies gather their groups entirely online. Group organizers pick participants that fit some criteria, like demographics that fit a buyer persona, general interests, or specific experiences. But unlike a traditional focus group, where all participants are physically present at the same time, MROCs enable participants to log in and out of the community whenever it is convenient for them to do so. The asynchronous nature of MROCs enables participants from different parts of the country – or different parts of the world – to engage in qualitative research studies.

When they join the community, these participants may perform various tasks. Some examples include surveys, discussions, brainstorms, and even games. Each of these activities helps the researchers gather the information that marketers can use to improve test theories, answer questions, or further define their market. While this article mostly discusses these online groups for insight-driven qualitative marketing research, scholars also use them to gather information for studies.

Three common kinds of MROCs

This list briefly explains the three common kinds of MROCs:

  • Short-term: These communities only last from a few days to a few months and can yield quick insights with a modest budget. Typically, researchers have tightly focused goals and engage with up to 60 participants.
  • Pop-up: Sometimes also called “on-off communities”, researchers will summon these groups as the need arises. They generally use from 50 to 250 participants. A qualitative marketing research agency may suggest a pop-up community when they have a limited budget and few questions but want to keep options open for more research in the future.
  • Continuous: Researchers keep a long-term or even permanent community open when they see a consistent need for answers and have the budget to support it. These may require up to 5,000 participants and a dedicated team of staff to manage and moderate.

Benefits of MROCs for qualitative user research

Successful advertising, marketing, and even product development depend upon high-quality marketing research. Marketers find that running online communities lets them make efficient use of their research budget because they’re:

  • Cost- and time-effective: Online research platforms can provide the tools to affordably and easily manage all kinds of groups, engaging with participants in multiple timezones, and including feedback from people who find it difficult or impossible to travel to attend a traditional, in-person focus group. 
  • Flexible: Researchers can determine how long to run the group, how many participants to include, and the kinds of activities to use for information gathering. While some businesses benefit from running continuous online communities, others can meet their goals rapidly.
  • Robust: Platforms for conducting MROCs have a lot of the same features that online forums and social networks offer. In fact, some businesses even use groups in existing social networks, though purpose-designed platforms can provide tools that make tracking and managing participants easier. In either case, it’s possible to host discussions, conduct polls, and even post pictures and videos.
  • Profitable: Having a way to gather high-quality information also helps businesses maximize returns from other marketing activities. For instance, they can learn how to target ads or which features to include in their product design.

Market researchers can trust the overall quality of the information they receive from these online groups. It’s easy to segment participants in real-time, based on their comments or demographics, and to tag verbatim quotes for qualitative analysis. Some people may perfectly fit the target but feel reticent about expressing their opinion in a room full of others. In-person focus groups generally have to stick to a tight schedule; however, online communities can allow more flexibility.

With the relatively anonymous nature of sitting behind a keyboard, participants often feel more relaxed about speaking up. Because they can log in online, respondents also have the luxury of chiming in when the existing discussion has helped them frame their thoughts. Sometimes, researchers even add an element of gamification or social engagement to the mix to help encourage participation.

Why online communities make sense

These days, consumers compare, shop, and even socialize online. It only makes sense to include marketing research online communities in every toolbox of marketing research techniques. When compared to more traditional forms of surveying the target audience, they also provide a robust solution that can help spare budgets and improve bottom lines.

BONUS: Listen to Stephen Cribbett and Terri Sorenson from Further discuss the benefits of qualitative marketing research online communities with Bigeye’s VP of Insights on our podcast, IN CLEAR FOCUS.

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