Mustard’s MD, Colin Auton, shares his views on the KBB, Homecare and DIY sector, and where research can play a role in helping brands to establish and maintain a competitive advantage in response to changing market conditions as we emerge from lockdown.
Earlier this month, we teamed up with One Brand Magic to host an online forum with senior executives from leading brands in the KBB sector, including Blum, Franke, Ideal Standard and Moduleo.
The session was informed by desk research that we consolidated from a range of sources to identify key issues that brands in the sector need to consider post COVID-19.
Our subsequent roundtable discussions centred on six key insights, and highlighted a number of areas where Homecare and DIY brands can benefit from conducting primary research to ensure that they have an up-to-date view of what’s happening, and therefore make more informed decisions in responding to on-going changes in the market:
- New customer segments have emerged – As a result of economic factors and changing needs, attitudes and behaviour. There may be a need to consider segmentation research to review and understand how existing models have changed, or to identify emerging segments to target following the pandemic.
- Consumers’ home needs and priorities have changed – Through spending more time living and working in their homes. Conducting ethnographic research will certainly help to explore and identify changing lifestyle needs and behaviour to inform future marketing campaigns and product propositions.
- Buyer behaviour is constantly evolving – As a result of lockdown, it is believed that there will be a trend towards supporting local businesses, and there is also evidence to suggest that an increasing percentage of shopping journeys will be conducted online in future, with many keen to keep their visits to ‘bricks and mortar’ stores to a minimum. U&A surveys will help to understand, quantify and track changes in buyer behaviour, and deliver insights to re-align products, processes and channel strategies if necessary.
- The shift to online purchasing has been accelerated – Brands need to assess their digital journeys to ensure that they offer a seamless and hassle-free experience for customers. Website and DX research could be vital here to identify frustrations and bugbears to be addressed.
- Bricks and mortar sites are facing many new challenges – Some are more prepared than others, and they will need to provide safe and unique in-store experiences to lure customers back. Brands may need to consider stakeholder research to determine if and how they support their trade and retail partners, or customer experience (CX) research to ensure that consumers feel reassured by their in-store experience.
- Maintaining your brand reputation is more important than ever – At the height of the pandemic, many examples were highlighted where consumers vowed never to use certain brands again because of their behaviour during the pandemic. Brand tracking research and social media monitoring are vital to track your brand health and pick up early on any emerging issues.
A lot of evidence points to a ‘deep but quick recession’. As such, if brands are able to stretch beyond ‘riding the storm’ and invest in market research to inform their strategic and operation decision-making, they will put themselves in a stronger position to take advantage of the predicted pent up demand as the economy recovers.