The Future of Shopping Research

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Shopper research is one piece in a much larger marketing puzzle and all of these pieces of the puzzle must be optimized individually, and harmonized collectively. So shopping research must always occur within the broader context of the overall marketing plan.

Shopping research is not only about retail; online retailing is a growing segment of shopping research, and in most cases brands must simultaneously optimize both “brick and mortar” retailing and online retailing.

As mentioned, shopping research is a broader and more inclusive term than “shopper insights.” Shopping research, however, does not exist in a vacuum. It’s one piece in a much larger marketing puzzle: the overall marketing of a specific brand, including targeting, positioning, messaging, product optimization, pricing optimization, package design and packaging, promotion strategy, and distribution. All of these pieces of the puzzle must be optimized individually and harmonized collectively, so shopping research must always be aware of and occur within the broader context of the overall marketing plan for a brand. The perspective for this webinar is brand-centric rather than retailer-centric, although we will touch upon retailer optimization in places.

Shopper Research Perspective

Shopping research, as we define it, is broad and inclusive. If the definition is too narrow, it limits the opportunities to solve problems and develop creative solutions. At Decision Analyst, shopping research includes geographic analysis (including GIS and geomapping), retailer or retail analyses (including online retailing), website and app analysis and optimization, category and sales analyses, brand analytics, packaging and package-design analysis, retail displays and planogram analyses, and, of course, pricing and promotion analyses. Ultimate solutions must integrate and optimize many variables, so a broader perspective and more open attack increases the chances of success.

Shopper Research Definition


Jerry W. Thomas

Jerry W. Thomas

Chief Executive Officer

Jerry founded Decision Analyst in September 1978. The firm has grown over the years and is now one of the largest privately held, employee-owned research agencies in North America. The firm prides itself on mastery of advanced analytics, predictive modeling to maximize learning from research studies, and the development of leading-edge analytic software.

Jerry is deeply involved in the firm’s development of new research methods and techniques and in the design of new software systems. He plays a key role in the development of Decision Analyst’s proprietary research services and related mathematical models.

Jerry describes himself as a student of marketing strategy, new product development, mathematical modeling, business survival, and economic growth. In his spare time, he likes to work on his farm in East Texas where he grows grapes, apples, pears, pecans, plums, and peaches; a forest of native trees, grasses, and insects; and wild plants of many types.

He graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington, earned his MBA at the University of Texas at Austin, and studied graduate economics at SMU.