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Market Research Solutions

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Consumer Insights and Innovation Methodologies

The ethos of the Retail Institute is to share knowledge. We offer our clients bespoke research solutions, providing them with a framework or actionable plan to help them drive growth or evidence for their business strategies. 

We look at industry challenges from a holistic perspective and adapt a range of tools, such as academic and industry literature reviews, data analysis techniques, experimental consumer and new product development methods - to name just a few, to bring together robust data to build an implementation roadmap. 

Depending on your challenge, we can develop the right support tools to provide you with effective, bias-free evidence to help drive your innovation.
The Retail Institute has a wealth of experience in conducting research in the form of qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods, providing a comprehensive research portfolio. 

By employing scientific research methodologies and techniques from different fields, we can uncover the insights that traditional methods may not be able to, gaining the insights of consumers and what they really desire.

Our Methodologies Include:

Plus Icon Focus Groups

Focus groups offer direct access to your consumers in a controlled environment and are ideal for generating informative qualitative data relating to premeditated lines of questioning.

Following academic guidelines, our focus groups allow for the collection of data specific to the problem at hand, with techniques sensitive to eliminating bias resulting in meaningful consumer-driven insights driving solutions to your business query. 

Plus Icon Scoping Studies

Using academic expertise, university databases and information resources and industry networks, The Retail Institute can provide knowledge on specific markets, technologies and consumer insights.

There is a vast amount of data now available on developments in retail, food and packaging. Being able to identify, filter and make sense of this wealth of highly diverse knowledge is an essential service for organisations looking to stay ahead of competitors or trial new products or approaches.

Our scoping studies can:

  1. Research new technologies by mapping existing innovations or finding out which new methods can be applied to a particular product.
  2. Gather information on suppliers, markets and available products to inform business strategies.
  3. Understand particular consumer issues such as:
  • Exactly how people interact with a product or packaging
  • Research on sensory aspects of retail
  • Future trends within specific markets.
Plus Icon Experimental Methods

The Retail Institute works with a number of experimental methods that seek to inform new product development or provide direction for existing product innovation. We can use a range of techniques to design a bespoke study, or use Kano and Kansei methods to bring you informed inspiration on products that will offer the highest levels of customer satisfaction.

The Kano Model is an insightful way to determine which attributes of products or services influence customer satisfaction the most, and how. Japanese Professor Noriaki Kano of Tokyo Rika University laid the foundation for a new approach to modelling customer satisfaction. Kano challenged the conventional beliefs that improving each attribute of a company's product or service will lead to increased customer satisfaction (the ‘more is better’ approach). Kano believed that not all attributes of product or service performance are equal in the eyes of the customer, and that some attributes create higher levels of customer loyalty than others. Kano developed the theory of attractive quality, arguing there are five different types of quality attributes:  Attractive, One-dimensional, Must-be, Indifferent, and Reverse. 

Today, the Kano method is still an essential tool for all organisations, particularly in the field of product development. The Retail Institute delivered a number of research projects utilising this method, and has further grown this method to successfully serve the needs of the FMCG industry.  

Plus Icon The Kansei Model
Kansei Engineering (Japanese: 感性工学  kansei kougaku, emotional / affective engineering) aims at the development or improvement of products and services by translating the customer's psychological feelings and needs into the domain of product design (i.e. parameters). 

Professor Mitsuo Nagamachi, from Professor Emeritus at Hiroshima University, was the founder of Kansei Engineering, and created more than forty new Kansei products - from cars, construction machines, home appliances, cosmetics, and bridges.

This method, frequently used by the Retail Institute to assist brand owners and packaging manufacturers with innovation, identifies which product attributes are the most appealing to your consumers, so that you can focus on developing the product features that; matter to the consumer, save resources and time, and limit risks associated with R&D activities. By translating the emotional customer responses into specific product characteristics, it gives you the control to shape and impact levels of customer delight and help you to create an innovation road map – a pipeline of activities that are essential for an effective and manageable product development process.  
Plus Icon Neuromarketing Innovation Tool
The Retail Institute, in partnership with the Axxonet, a neuroscientific research centre based in Bangalore, India, are working on developing of a unique method that seeks to establish the effectiveness of package design (or advertisements) by the use of neuroscience and other methods, such as data analytics. In collaboration with the University’s Psychology department (School of Social Sciences) and the Business School, the Institute is setting up a neuroscience lab that will be working on developing this unique tool for innovation. 
Plus Icon Data Envelopment Analysis
Data Envelopment Analysis is a method of analysing large data sets relating to different products that creates a benchmarking tool and allows for evidence-based ROI projection. Based on certain identified criteria, it is possible to identify successful and underperforming products, creating an opportunity to identify and prioritise elements of product portfolios to develop. This method utilises data from multiple sources, such as surveys, market research and expert analysis to create a rounded picture of the market.
Plus Icon Workshops

The Retail Institute’s educational workshops have been designed to give industry professionals the skills and knowledge they need to maximise their relevance to consumers and industry alike. Focused on innovation, our workshops have been designed for anyone with a role to play in the retail or packaging of products. We work closely with clients to ensure the content is relevant for their needs.

We offer training to enable innovation teams to learn the skills needed to utilise and adopt our own academic methodologies in-house, enabling successful long-term innovation processes to emerge. Through Leeds Beckett University, we are also able to provide a range of additional courses including Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes, degree apprenticeships, specialist professional qualifications and executive development courses. Please click here for our course finder.

To find out about other opportunities for training and development offered by our University, please visit our Business Training and Development page.

We were inspired by the workshop delivered by the Retail Institute’s academic team. We appreciated their enthusiasm and their wealth of knowledge which gave us some really invaluable insights that will help us transform our business objectives and positively impact on the future generations of our products.

Lauren Newman - Nestlé Product Technology Centre