Consumer panels: Why are they so important?

Ever sat watching The Apprentice and laughed at the brutally honest feedback people give to the teams’ products?

It’s OK, you’re not alone!

But in all seriousness, consumer research is a valuable tool in your brand’s arsenal. With the right feedback, you can better understand the people you’re marketing to – and learn how to improve your efforts so far. 

Consumer panels are there to help you focus right from the start, but what are they exactly?

In this article, we explore consumer panels in more detail and show how they could help make your brand more appealing to customers on the digital shelf.

What is a consumer panel?

Imagine a group of specially selected individuals whose sole purpose is to give their feedback on your brand and what it offers.

Sounds daunting, right?

Don’t be scared, though. Consumer panels are all about building your brand for the better. They exist to provide an outside opinion on your main products/services, with a view to affecting positive, optimistic change.

Trust us, if you want quality feedback on your current brand prominence, as well as how to improve, then consumer panels are definitely right for you.

How do consumer panels work?

If you want your consumer panel to work effectively, you must follow these key steps:

1) Ask yourself why

Understand the purpose of bringing on board external viewpoints, and remember to outline every area of the business you’re looking for feedback on.

Whether it’s how a particular product or service within your company is perceived, or simply if your pricing needs work, a consumer panel will let you know so you can make the necessary changes going forward.

2) Consult your target audience

Yes, a lot of consumer panels do operate using random selection; however, you should choose participants who are within your core customer base – especially if you’re targeting a niche market.

A few examples of criteria around which to structure your consumer panels include:

  • Age
  • Job
  • Education
  • Salary
  • Location

Of course, it will be up to you to comply with current data protection legislation and appreciate that such information may be sensitive to participants, always treating it as such.

3) Know how to launch

The purpose of every consumer panel is to obtain actionable insights you can use to improve your business.

So, how do you collect this information?

Consumer panel data is usually written down following verbal testimony from each participant but may be recorded in survey form instead.

Alternatively, participating shoppers and brands alike do use store receipts to collect consumer feedback as well.

What do consumer panels reveal about your business?

The right consumer panel can help answer questions about all sorts of buyer behaviour, including:

  • Who? – Habits of particular customers drawn from information collected from their specific sample groups
  • What? – Spending patterns across various products and available brands, according to specified categories
  • Where? – Purchasing data obtained from different sources of sale, including physical retail spaces, ecommerce channels, TV shopping, etc.

Why are consumer panels so important?

If carefully selected, your consumer panel could uncover crucial real-time insights regarding customer behaviour within the marketplace.

And explain how this is affecting your sales!

From falling product demand to competitor monitoring, consumer panels are there to help fix any gaps within your sales journey that other companies may be taking advantage of.

Other examples of buyer behaviour that a consumer panel can help track include:

  • Purchase frequency – How often buyers are making purchases
  • Buy rate – How much people spend when they shop
  • Repeat sales – Whether or not buyers are returning and purchasing the same/similar products
  • Basket attributes – Spend per trip, the time of day shopping occurs, payment methods used, delivery options chosen, etc. 
  • Attitudes and psychology – Including the interests and lifestyles of buyers
  • Shopper volume – How new, retained, or even lost buyers can affect product volume; which stores they choose to shop in vs online transactions
  • Brand interaction – What types of brands do specific shoppers consider purchasing
  • Household engagement – The percentage of households buying a specific type of product

Supporting consumer panels with Magpie DBX

There’s little denying that consumer panels are a touchstone for brands looking to get external insight into their products/services.

But what if there was a way to help streamline the data collection process?

Magpie DBX has a powerful price tracker, which we’ve built to obtain comprehensive pricing info from all over the digital shelf. It reports every 24 hours, providing around 45 fields’ worth of data to help you decide what’s right for your company.

Also, our Brand compliance feature lets you explore exactly what is working well for you online – and what needs to be improved.

Want to learn more about what Magpie can do for your brand? Get in touch today and request a free demo!

And don’t forget to follow us on social media for more helpful marketing tips.

Book a demo

Want to learn more about how Magpie DBX can help your business? Get in touch with us and let us show you!

  • Designed to help you increase sales
  • Tailored to suit your business needs
  • Full support available
Virgin Media and O2 logo