Q&A: Sarah Hutchinson, Account Director, YouGov
Sarah has spent over 15 years in varying Account Manager roles, working with some of the leading Retail and FMCG brands.
Prior to becoming the Account Director of the Consumer Brands in early 2021, Sarah spent 2 years as part of the YouGov New Business team and was responsible for YouGov’s Plan & Track solutions. Sarah spent her previous 7 years at GlobalData and was a co-founding member of Research & Analytics company – Conlumino.
Can you tell us a bit about YouGov’s background?
YouGov is an international research and data analytics group. Since the early 2000’s – when YouGov pioneered the use of the internet to conduct market research – our business model has been built on the principle that internet-based research is more accurate than traditional research methods.
During the past two decades, we have focused on developing our smarter alternatives to traditional market research by improving the connectedness and interoperability of our products and services, aligning them in a single connected system to support all stages of the marketing workflow.
Our mission is to supply a continuous stream of accurate data into what the world thinks, so that organisations can better serve the communities that sustain them. With a proprietary panel of over 11 million registered members globally and operations in the UK, Americas, Mainland Europe, Middle East, India and Asia Pacific, YouGov has one of the world’s largest research networks.
What is YouGov’s USP?
The main difference between YouGov and traditional research companies is our focus on bring technology and better analytics to the world of Research. Our customers are more tech and data savvy than ever, and we need to meet their level of sophistication with equally sophisticated and meaningful data and insights. We disrupted the research industry 20 years ago, and we have been doing this longer than all the recent entrants into the research data space, and through that experience, we have built robust panels, data sets, and technology tools that are unparalleled by these companies.
Many companies have a portfolio of solutions that are meaningful in isolation. The challenge with this approach is customers receive an incomplete or fragmented view of what is going on. The difference with YouGov is all our surveys run through one integrated panel of ~11 million participants that integrates all our data streams. In short – all our products CONNECT. This provides a far more complete picture of the marketplace in one place.
What advantage does YouGov products/services add for retailers?
YouGov has over 10 years of data and insights on the Retail sector.
Our solutions help retailers find and define their target audience (or refine an existing one), then build and customise a portrait of what makes them stand out with incomparable detail and ease. Retailers can build a portrait of the audience they need most, incorporating demographics, brand usage and perception, hobbies and interests, psychographics, media consumption… and much more. The solutions also pinpoint the channels and mediums people love, and talk to your target audience when they most want to listen, ensuring that retailers are confident that they are delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time.
We also work with retailers to monitor brand performance and campaign awareness. Retailers can use the tools to determine what drives changes in brand health, customer and competitor satisfaction, and campaign effectiveness over time. From brand, campaign and reputation tracking, to customer satisfaction or monitoring their competitors’ positioning, retailers are able to gain a competitive advantage driven by continuous, reliable insight with our tracking solutions.
How can success be measured using YG tools?
Retailers use our solutions for a multitude of scenarios where success is predicated on identifying their audience: business plans, product strategy, brand and marketing strategies, media planning and more.
They can then analyse and benchmark their success against their goals, their competitors, and their entire market. These solutions enable them to immediately spot and take action on any changes in their brand’s perception and take advantage of opportunities in their sector.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in UK retail for 2021?
The biggest challenge will, of course, be getting customers back into physical retail. With the closure of non-essential retail for so long, consumers have been pushed more than ever to shop online and there is a strong likelihood that this way of shopping will continue for some time yet. The high street was already in need of saving and the pandemic has further accelerated its decline. That coupled with the ending of business rate holiday could topple many of those struggling most over the edge.
However, having been locked down for so long, consumers are keen to exercise their right to socialise and engage in ways not easily adapted for online. The opportunity could be in turning some of those vacant retail spaces into new and exciting experiences such as food halls, leisure and entertainment facilities, pop-ups and more flexible working spaces. Retailers stand to benefit from the halo effect of this injection of footfall and find themselves contributing to a high street that consumers have missed and want to visit again.
How can YG help address these challenges and turn them into successes?
Our groundbreaking research products combine the best panel, best data and best tools for fast, robust data results of unrivaled quality and therefore we are a company that offers a breadth of products to answer a variety of business challenges.
YouGov can work with retailers to provide credible consumer intelligence to create market-shaping strategies that respond to the changing wants and needs that consumers now have. We can support across both syndicated and bespoke research that will produce rich intelligence retailers can use to make customer-centric business decisions, understand demand and opportunity and share trend-setting insights as well as much more.
Our syndicated solutions cover classical retail questions in industry, sector, and brand tracking, complemented by large profiling databases to dig into the “why” behind the movements.
Our bespoke solutions connect to the syndicated data and allow our clients to ask specific questions not in typical syndicated data to further uncover why the metrics are moving.
Where syndicated products are not suitable, our bespoke solutions are designed standalone. These products can be also be mixed and matched to provide a clear and connected picture of the marketplace.
Any final thoughts?
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on shopping attitudes and behaviors globally.
But even though shopping has shifted online during the pandemic, consumer preference for brick-and-mortar remains high.
It’s therefore crucial for retailers to understand the cross-channel interplay between online and physical stores and how behaviors will normalize post-pandemic to drive greater penetration.
Online shopping – purchase motivators and barriers, and consumer interest in VR/AR
- Home delivery / convenience is the top reason cited by shoppers for online retail (57%)
- Being ‘easier to purchase things online’ (47%)
- Variety of products is the third top reason for shopping online (42%)
Barriers to Online
- Delivery charges (46%),
- Physically experiencing a product (45%)
- Product return policy (39%),
- Inability to try things (38%)
- Delivery time (33%)
Benefits for B&M retailers and the barriers to address
Top 5 reasons people shop via B&M are:
- Physically experiencing a product (62%)
- Ability to try things in store (53%)
- Speed of purchase (45%)
- Ease of purchasing in person (37%)
- The experience of visiting a store (34%)
Barriers to B&M
Social distancing is currently the top barrier to B&M shopping (35%) however this is set to subside post-pandemic.
- Lack of offers/discounts (31%)
- Inconvenience of visiting a physical store (30%)
- Product selection/variety (27%)
- Lack of physical stores nearby (26%)
In summary – key take outs
- Online retailers should target the younger cohort with AR/VR for clothing and tech products, and could be more successful in Asia, UAE and Mexico vs. US and Western Europe
- Physical retailers must deliver on three core areas – shopping experience, convenience, and value – to win consumer favor in B&M .
To download YouGovs latest report – “INTERNATIONAL OMNI-CHANNEL RETAIL REPORT 2021” click here.
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