This Black Friday weekend we were thinking about customer trends. As retailers braced themselves for a weekend of tills ringing, on-line and in store, there may have may been a nervous wait to see if their product or buying decisions, some taken up to a year ago, were the correct ones. It’s a risky business, particularly in markets such as consumer goods which can be very fast moving and given the importance of the ‘golden quarter’ to revenue for many sectors. But there are ways businesses can help to understand and manage this risk for their business as they take stock of this year and plan ahead for next year. Here are three:
Find out what’s trending in your markets – Google trends, market reports, press articles and trade press are all good places to start. This quarter is often when commentators round up their top tips for trends in 2024, which can give a few clues as to what to expect.
Ask your customers – You may have already recorded in your customer service databases things they’ve asked for in the past you’ve been unable to supply. If not, speaking to a few customers via surveys or interviews can be a good way to understand how your products or services or those of your competitors are meeting their needs and offer some insight into what they value the most and what’s missing. Your suppliers are also a wealth of information and insight into what’s happening.
See what your competitors are up to – we can all be guilty of not stopping to look up and take in what is happening around us. There are often clues – on websites, in corporate presentations, on social media and in trade press articles. That doesn’t mean you should copy what they are doing but it’s worth getting a feel across a few competitors the direction of travel in your markets.