Walmart Makes Major Market Research Investment
What does it say when the world’s largest retailer says it’s looking to market research to climb out of a sales drop? It means that almost any business can benefit from learning a little more about your clients and why they buy. A recent Research Magazine article titled “Spend money. Deliver better,” the mega-retailer’s plan to invest in what it calls a “consumer insights” team is detailed. Experts in the article say that even though Walmart has one of the most advanced merchandise tracking systems in the business, it still needs to talk to consumers to find out what they want.
Jude Olinger recently weighed in on the article, with this Q&A for The Olinger Group’s blog.
What Does it Say About the Value of Market Research if Walmart is Making a Huge Investment in It?
Jude Olinger: The article points out the fact that Walmart has been behind in using consumer insight to drive their decision making about marketing, and I think it’s a statement to the value of research that they recognize that they have got to implement this kind of program in order to catch up.
I think it’s an affirmation that Market Research is an important part of their strategic plan – their planning and decision making process. It’s important for the Market Research industry that someone like Walmart is putting so much stock in it.
How can Market Research Help Any Business Get Through a Rough Patch?
Jude: I think that what recessions or bad economies do is they expose some of the problems that may exist within a competitive marketplace. When times are good, companies get complacent and they don’t have to be as good or on top of their game. Recessions force the market to be more efficient. Research can be important to help overcome those deficiencies and get a leg up on the competition. People recognize the need for research more when they’re coming out of a bad time.
How Important is Market Research to Any Retailer?
Jude: Research should be part of every company’s decision making process. Empirical information about customers or about decisions that a company is trying to make – whether it be a marketing or operations decision – its really important. When I see people like Walmart putting such an emphasis on research, it’s very heartening to me that they recognize this and this will hopefully drive smart companies to realize the value of research. It should be part of every good company’s DNA.