Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
A consumer is someone who buys products for personal use. A consumer panel is a group of consumers who take part in research about products. A market research company recruits and maintains a consumer panel and uses it to gain product feedback. This feedback is the advantage of a consumer panel. It shows what types of consumer are prepared to buy a product and how much they are willing to pay for it.
A consumer panel provides a market research company with feedback about purchases. The data shows what each panel member has bought and the effect of discounts. A market research company can use the data to track changes in the market share of a product against the prices of other brands. It can also relate consumer demographics to price sensitivity. For a balanced approach, a market research company chooses panel members from different income brackets, age groups and locations.
Feedback about purchases made by members of a consumer panel also enables a market research company to compare product sales at various points in time. The comparisons relate to changes in aspects of marketing such as the price of a product and the design of its packaging. A market research company studies a consumer panel's response before a change and after. Such a time comparison of product packaging and pricing can influence marketing strategies.
A business must understand consumer behaviour if it is to sell a new product or improve existing sales. A market research company uses feedback from a consumer panel to measure the way behaviour among its members affects a product's sales. The measurements examine changes in behaviour as a result of strategies such as the introduction of a new product line or a special offer. A market research company also measures the way competing product brands influence a panel's behaviour.
A business that sells a product abroad may want an international assessment of consumer behaviour to help with sales and marketing. A consumer panel for each country in which the product appears supplies this assessment. A specialist multi-country market research company acts on behalf of a business by setting up and running a network of national consumer panels. Feedback from the panels comes via the post, the Internet, the telephone and personal interviews.
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images