How To Conduct A Market Research For Your Startup Fashion Business As A Fashion Designer
As an entrepreneur trying to build your business, one of the most important things to do is market research. Market research enables the business owner to understand who their buyers are and what influences their decisions.
For a fashion entrepreneur, this means that market research will help you know what makes your customers buy fashion products. Market research may seem complex but it is necessary to grow your business.
What is Market Research?
Market research is the process of gathering information about your business' target market to determine how likely they are to patronise your brand and what influences their decision to patronise you or not.
Market research goes beyond your brand though and looks into where your target market search for items similar to yours to purchase. It tells you what is trending in your industry, what your target market wants and needs from your brand and what's influencing their decision to patronsie a particular brand. It studies how cultural, societal, and personal factors affect how your customers behave.
Types of Market Research
Market research is split into two categories: Primary market research and Secondary market research.
Primary Market Research:
Primary market research studies customers directly. It uses focus groups, online surveys, phone interviews and so on to gather information on what makes them tick and the challenges they face
Secondary Market Research:
Secondary market research studies information from public records that others have gathered about your customers. It uses reports found on websites of other organisations that have researched your target market be it trend reports, market statistics, or industry content. This type of research is useful for analysing your competitors.
Questions Market Research Answers
Market research answers the following questions, amongst others, for you:
- Who are my potential customers?
- What are my customers’ shopping and buying habits?
- How large is my target market?
- What is the buying power of my target market?
- Who is my competition?
- What makes my customers buy from my competitors'?
- What are my competitors’ strengths and weaknesses?
- What will make my target market buy from me?
Steps in Carrying out Market Research
Here are steps you can follow in conducting your market research:
1. Define your Ideal Customer:
Defining your ideal customer makes it easier for you to be able to gather information about them. It helps you know what type of questions you should be asking and how the media to use in asking these questions.
Factors such as age, gender, location, occupation, family size, income, and major challenges should be gathered. This will help you when dealing with the customer in person.
Your ideal customer can fit into various groups but you have to be sure that the tastes of all the groups are compatible and taken into consideration when creating content to share with and producing your fashion items.
2. Identify Individuals among your Ideal Customers to Engage:
Now, pick out individuals that fit into the profile of your ideal customer to carry out your market research on. They should be people who have recently purchased something from you, people who patronise a competitor and people who interacted with your brand but decided not to purchase from you.
3. Engage these Individuals:
This can be done through an in-person interview, an online survey, or through a phone call. Ask them questions that deal directly with their buying habits and questions that surround the problems they face in fashion.
4. Prepare your Research Questions:
It is very important to be prepared when interacting with your target market in the market research phase. You should ask open-ended questions and that answer the most pressing questions you have in mind about them.
First, you want to ask background questions about them to familiarise yourself with who they are. Then, questions about the challenges they face in their fashion needs and how they realised these challenges needed to be solved.
You'll also want to know where and how they find fashion brands to solve their fashion problems and what influenced them to use those channels. Ask about factors that influenced the choice of fashion brands they patronise and finally questions about what their ideal buying process looks like.
5. List your Primary Competitors:
After interacting with individuals from your target market, it is important to check out your competitors and what they are doing to make sales. Here, you identify not just industry competitors, i.e. other fashion brands selling thing that are similar to yours, but also content competitors, i.e. brands that are putting out similar content as yours even though they don't sell what you sell
To identify your competitors in the fashion industry, you can use social media Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn to find out about other fashion brands in your niche. To identify content competitors, you can just Google it and see what other fashion brands are putting on their websites to draw customers to themselves.
6. Summarise and Analyse your Findings:
Now, to make your market analysis easier, look for similar themes among all the data you have gathered and put them into categories. Gather information on the people you talked to, the most interesting things you learnt, and the sources customers use in finding a brand to patronise.
Then, list out what you plan to do about the information you gathered and all the product features that make your target market purchase an item from you or not. At this point, you should have uncovered action plans to implement in your fashion business and things that are a priority for your buyers.
Find out how you can use market research to your advantage as a fashion entrepreneur here.
Conducting market research can be a daunting task but it is something every fashion entrepreneur must do to grow their business. It is often advisable to employ the help of an expert in conducting your market research if you find that you cannot do it yourself to make it as effective as possible.