The ultimate intention of any business is to increase sales and profit of the business. Business research is can be defined as a process of getting extensive information of all the sections of businesses and using that information two amplify sales and profit for the business. The research also helps to serve the purpose for entrepreneurs who decide whether or not to enter a particular business.
Business research helps to determine the nature of competition, marketing approach, financial stability for business. Business research can be applied to any businesses in general. The research gets answers for questions such as the nature of the market, the potential of the market, nature of demand, pricing of the product etc.
For example, consider a company wants to launch new chocolate in the market. But they are not aware of the technicalities of the same, then, business research has to be undertaken for that purpose. The research will let you know the current players in the chocolate industry, the pricing of the competitive products, their unique selling points (USP), nature of the demand from customers, average demand, industry growth rate and the feasibility of financials.
10 Types of business research
Business research is considered an aspect of the business intelligence process. It is usually conducted to determine the success factors of an organization in your area or to understand the suitable marketing approach the organization should use to promote the products. For this purpose, primarily, there are two types of business research:
A) Qualitative Research Methods
Of both the types’, qualitative research is one of the important types of business research. This is the type of business research, which involves getting data through the means of communication by employing open-ended questions or such resources. These researches help the researchers to understand not only what audience thinks but also why the audiences think the way they think.
There are various types of qualitative research methods such as focus groups, content analysis, ethnographic research, interviews etc. These methods are very important in business research since they help the researchers to know the customer in depth. It is necessary to understand not only what motivates the customer to buy but also why does the customer not buy a certain product and what makes them choose one product over the other.
1) Interviews :
Interviews are similar in their nature to service in the way that they have similar questions. The only difference between both is that the respondent can answer open-ended questions and begin the conversation in interviews while that is not possible in surveys. Interviews help the researchers to understand a detailed perspective and opinions from the subjects of research.
These types of business research also help to understand the experts and can give some critical insights related to businesses while conducting the interviews. Example of research was conducted by a mobile phone company to understand why a certain color of mobile is favored by male customers over female customers.
After an interview in them, the researcher understands that while Blue is related to masculinity, all the shades of blue fall under similar category and pink, on the other hand, relates to feminity, which is why male customers do not prefer a phone color related to Pink. On the other hand, people are shown with neutral colors like black or white or shades of black and white they are widely accepted by both the genders equally. This helps the researcher to understand that it is better to go ahead with manufacturing Black or White phones and have an open market rather than colored phones and reduce their target audience.
Another example would be if a cosmetic company wants to increase their market share by launching a new fairness product for men. The interview yields a result that almost equal numbers of men are using the already available female fairness cream secretly. The company was deciding to launch a new line of fairness cream with a masculine name so that it appeals their target audience and a feminine name would not work in the market. But because of the interview, they found that launching only a gender variant by keeping the name same would work equally well. Thus interviews help to understand the audience better.
2) Focus Groups :
Focus groups are the types of business research which involves a small set of selected individuals to understand their opinion and behavior. The difference between Focus Group and interviews that Focus Group has a very small number of people but it is ensured that they represent a variety of target market. Although the sample size is quantitatively less, it is qualitatively diverse. Focus groups can also be conducted by online surveys.
The primary intention of the focus group has to launch the new product to a very small targeted audience before launching date in the entire market. Their reactions are studied, suggestions are taken and improvements are made in the product before a full-fledged launch. It ensures that all the screening is done with the audience not knowing about it.
3) Ethnographic Research :
Amongst all the types of business research Ethnographic research is considered to be one of the most challenging research but the one which gives extremely precise results. Ethnographic researches are considered to be one of the most expensive and time-consuming research. These researches involve the researcher to adapt to the natural environment of the target audience and observe them naturally and collect the data. Such a method is considered when there is a need to understand the challenges or cultures are other crucial things that can occur only in a particular setting.
For example, a reality TV show named Big Brother, which is famous all over, follows a similar method. The participants are observed with cameras head and everywhere understand their natural behavior and points are given accordingly to the participants. Ethnographic research also has wide applications in understanding buyer intentions. It has to understand the questions like why would a buyer not prefer a brand over the other, what are the factors that lead a customer to change one brand to other on the spot etc.
4) Case Study Research :
Case study research is considered one of the most crucial types of business research. Case study research is also used as marketing collateral in my many businesses. If research is conducted with intention of assessing the customer satisfaction, the challenges that the customers faced and the solutions that the firm can give them after case studies.
These conclusions are used to point out certain benefits that the customer can avail after choosing their specific firm. Such researches are used in many fields including but not limited to education, Social sciences, marketing, and even government researches. Businesses provide case studies to new customers to showcase their capabilities and that is the reason why case study research is and related types of business research play a very important role in the business sector.
For example, a gaming app is used as a test with one of its customer. The aim of the study is to find out what were the challenges that were faced by the user during the game, what was the scope of complexity of the game and what suggestions very given to overcome the challenges faced by the customer. The study and with the benefits that this game provides over other game apps, like more number of characters, multiple levels, cost-effective in-app purchases, etc.
5) Website Visitor Research :
Website surveys are relatively new that has come into the market but in fact is proving to be very helpful for most of the businesses. It is one of the best methods to collect feedback from the visitor visiting your website which using a survey which hat is considered innovative and its approach for direct collection of feedback.
Businesses have moved online and hence it is important for them to understand the visitors on the website since the visitors can be your potential target customer. Feedback collection is very useful for any business science without understanding the customer the business cannot proceed ahead. The company has to keep their customers happy and try to convert them to all customers in order to generate regular business revenue and increase market share to stay on top.
Website survey allows the companies to understand their target audience, their intention and collect that feedback to evaluate the online experience of the customers. Behavior paths, the intention of the visitor, overall satisfaction from the website, are few of the things that can be collected by website visitor profiling.
Depending on the nature of research and information that the company is targeting to acquire multiple forms of website intercept surveys are used to collect responses from customers. An example of the same would be Pop-ups. This technology has also been incorporated into apps. For example, after purchasing on amazon.com, the user will be asked to write about the experience of purchasing it which will be a quick feedback form.
B) Quantitative Research Methods
As the name suggests these types of business research deals with numbers. These types of business research use a systematic investigation by the use of mathematical techniques or statistical tools which usually begin with data collection and then move to statistical analysis by the use of multiple methods.
Following are a few types of business research in quantitative methods
6) Survey Research :
This method is one of the most widely used methods for collection of data. This is specially used in business research. This method involves asking questions to set of audience by using various methods like online surveys, questionnaires, online polls, and others. Many companies have been using this method to collect data to understand the nature of the market and make appropriate business decisions like target selection for advertising.
There are various types of service available like longitudinal surveys which are used to collect responses from an audience across various time durations in order to understand the changes in the audience behavior, cross-sectional surveys, etc. Unlike earlier methods when a person uses to collect surveys from respondents by going and meeting them, online surveys and social media have helped to conduct the same very effectively and with very little cost. By the use of tools such as Google Survey sheets, tones of n audience can be reached in a very short time.
7) Correlational research :
These types of business research are conducted to know the relationship between two different entities and how the impact over each other. As the name suggests correlational research suggests the correlation between the two entities. These types of business research help to understand patterns trends relationships etc.
Correlational research is generally combined with other tools to draw a stable and substantial conclusion since relying only on the data generated by Correlational research cannot be used to draw a firm conclusion. For example, if one were to understand the relation between the types of social media apps used by generations correlational research can be used. This research will help to establish which generation uses which category of social media apps more.
Like the research may reveal conclusions like teenagers from age 18 to 25 10 to use Snapchat and WhatsApp more, while people from 25 to 35 use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and people above 35 use LinkedIn. However, surprisingly, people above 40 also used Facebook equally as much as LinkedIn. The differentiation factor was employment since employed people use LinkedIn and Facebook equally.
8) Causal-Comparative research :
Causal-comparative research is a type of business research which is based on comparison as the name suggests, and is used to conclude cause and effect relationship between different variables. This research is also known as quasi-experimental research. Part of the research involves establishing a variable which is independent and studying the effects of that independent variable on the dependent variable.
These researchers do not involve manipulation of any kind however changes are observed on groups due to the influence of similar changes. Inferring conclusions and this type of business research are slightly tricky since both the dependent and independent variables will co-exist in a group. For example to understand excellent educational facilities in a rural setting this kind of research may be used. The research would analyze and concludes the changes in people when they are exposed two excellent educational facilities.
9) Experimental research :
As the name suggests, this type of business research is purely based on proving a theory. These resources are very useful since they help to understand the behavioral traits of customers which in turn lead to more revenue generation. A set of the audience is observed and then analyzed in their behavior when they are exposed to certain parameters. This is the basis of experimental research.
For example, a food company would conduct to understand the effect of particular colors and their effect on customers and their hunger. When the customers are exposed to particular colors while hungry they observe whether the hunger is stimulated or suppressed. In reality, it was seen that others like Red or yellow tends to increase hunger and that is the reason why many food chains like KFC McDonald’s are using red color in their interior and brands.
10) Online Research :
Also known as literature research address considered as one of the oldest types of business research. Owing to its economy and the amount of information that can be gathered in a short amount of time, online research is very popular with a lot of people. This research involves the gathering of information from documents which are already existing and studies which are already been done like annual reports, libraries and old documents.
With the help of technology nowadays such research has become even easier and user-friendly to conduct. Any individual can perform this research online for the information that is required. The intention of online research would be to get in-depth information about a particular topic.
These researchers are used by sales and marketing departments to understand the market and their consumers. It is to be ensured that while conducting such research the sources need to be validated and credible and information is to be collected. This is also termed as secondary research since the primary research has already been done and research is being done on that primary research.