Report on The Qualitative and Quantitative Research Phases:
Australia has become well known for its ever increasing market for perfume and also the fact that is world’s leading producer of the same product. Because of the increasing numbers of perfume manufacturers, any business in the industry has to go the extra mile to be able to sustain its market share and achieve growth in the market. Consumer needs and expectations have also changed as more manufactures have come up with better products which are also affordable (James, 2009). Although the market for cosmetics and especially perfume is unisex, that is, it is for both men and women, women provide a bigger market and their perfume needs are just a little bit more than those for men. To cut to the chase, the market for women with regard to cosmetic perfume and especially designer perfume is bigger and more complicated than that of men. As Joseph (2008) says, to understand the dynamics of the designer perfume for women would require one to understand a lot about the consumer behavior in women. Understanding this will be the key to success for nay business targeting women as the market for (designer) perfume. According to Willson (2009), unlike in the past, designer perfume has become more and more popular even where cost is an issue and continues to displace generic perfume form the shelf. Therefore, the success of any perfume business will in the near future directly depend on how well the business understands the behavior of the consumers.
The market for perfume, as Mc Greggor (2009) is not just growing rapidly but is also changing dynamically and becoming more and more to difficult to understand. This is because perfume, among other things is a fashion item and thereby the product has to keep up with dynamicity of the trends (Wilson, 2008). Designer perfume for women, as James (2010) says, has to keep up with the ever changing trends in women fashion. To understand how a product will perform in the market, it is better to understand that women are very dynamic in their preferences. A woman will need to make sure that the perfume she is wearing on suits the occasion. Joseph (2009)identifies that, unlike men who may not pay attention to detail, women have been known to be keen as to the fragrance they exude and the occasion at hand as well as the cloths she is wearing at the time. As a result, perfume has become an important part of a woman’s wardrobe rather than a part of her makeup table (Moses, 2007). With this regard, the past decade has seen designer perfume become more and more popular in the same way as designer clothes. As far as designer items are concerned, the marketer has to know that he or she is stepping on a very fragile and agile ground. The common lesson in designer goods, however, Daniel, (2009) asserts is that cost is an important issue just like any other goods, but in this case the effect is like a double edged sword, cuts both ways. In short, designer goods work almost the same way as giffen goods, the higher the price the more the buyers will be willing to buy. Unfortunately, designer perfume just like designer clothes are not exactly like other giffen goods such as sporting clubs because the market in target and approach is entirely different. This leaves the designer in a position where he has to make a very sensitive decision that could make or break the whole product. Pricing, Steve (2008) points out, is definitely an important factor in designer perfume, not only in terms of how the company will make profits and how the product can be made affordable to the customer, but also in the kind of image it creates for the product. Too cheap and the product will lose its market. As Gibson (2009) says, no self respecting woman want to go around with the fragrance of a cheap perfume. In fact, cheap perfume is associated with prostitution because only them, and especially the cheap ones wear the cheap perfume. To that end, as Darius (2009) urges, designing a designer perfume for women is a very intricate needs that goes beyond just the lab work, but also understanding market conceptions. At the very least, a product will be priced to be within the pocket ability of the potential customer without making it too cheap. Perfume, for ladies is not just good fragrance; it is a fashion statement, a lifestyle statement as well as a statement of who a woman is. Yet, all these are determined by not just how an individual woman thinks, but how her group of friends, think and how almost everyone else thinks (Joel, 2009). To be able to design a perfect perfume for the right woman will therefore require that one understands these issues and that they are taken seriously. For instance, traditionally, a woman would be okay to have just one perfume fragrance in her cosmetic armory. However, with recent trends, Gillian (2010), asserts, women prefer to have a variety in order to be able to wear the right fragrance to the right occasion. In other words, perfume has become like outfit that should be changed with time and occasion. This, as Garret (2007) observes, is very important information to the designer because of a number of things. One and very important for the designer to note is that a woman may and will needs more than just one perfume fragrance. In other words, she will need a range of perfume fragrances. However, it is important that the designer knows that these range of fragrances will need to be at least be compatible with each other. David (2009) sees this as an important issue because the ever single consumer will not be comfortable wearing perfumes that are too different. This will then mean that the designer has to come up with a perfume fragrance that is at least within the same range of fragrance. Carlos (2007) in her study identifies that an average woman will have an average of three different perfumes in her cosmetics table. This is because the perfume they she wears to work is not the same she wears to other social functions or when she is just relaxing in her home. One of the reasons that James (2003) has identified for women to choose different perfume fragrances as opposed to just one of them is that wearing one of them makes them predictable. This is very true, as Joel (2009) seconds this in her article and quotes a young woman of about age twenty three complaining that the problem with wearing one perfume is that her boyfriend can almost always tell of her presence just by her perfume. As Gary, (2008) points out, one thing that a woman will hate is this kind of predictability and therefore this can only be avoided by wearing different perfumes. The important aspect that a designer has to take careful not of is the fact that the usage behavior changes so should the packaging. According to Thierry (2007) as the use of perfume has been personalized and changed, most people no longer share perfume. One important aspect of designer products is the personalization of the product. As the trend of wearing perfume moves to designer perfume from generic products, so does the consumer behavior. In the past, it was nothing out of the ordinary for people to share perfume. This was because perfume was not a personal thing and was more of a routine thing, just like people take showers because they expire, not necessarily because it is a fashion thing. However, as the trend for wearing perfume has become more of a fashion thing, perfume has become more personal and each individual have their own personal brands. This is a trend that has been seen in other products such as soaps, skin jellies, etc which originally was shared but became more personal with time. Designer perfume will then have to put into consideration such factors as the size of packaging as well as type of packaging (Alex, 2009). For instance the size should not be too big because the perfume will expire before it has been full consumed. The packaging should also seek a concealed packaging that allows the user to use without exposing it to the atmosphere and thereby preserve the perfume for longer before it loses its fragrance.
Design of the qualitative research
The research was geared towards getting information about consumer behavior about women of ages between eighteen years and forty years. In particular, the research was to find out changing trends in perfume consumers and therefore find out how the following factors affect the consumer behavior.
Age: this being a very important aspect of the research, the age of the respondents would be very necessary in order to understand how age is or will affect the consumer behavior. Age was expected to affect the consumer behavior in two dimensions. One of these dimensions was that the younger women are just entering the market and have not experienced with the available products so much as compared to the older ladies. The older ladies however, as Godfrey (2009) puts it, may still be nostalgic about products they have used in the past and this may affect their preferences and consumer behavior. The main issue here would be to ask for the age of the respondent. Needless to say, a lot of people and especially women don’t like going around shouting their ages. The younger ones may feel insecure and increase their age to look more mature while the older ones may lower their ages (John, 2004). people are more comfortable with this sort of thing rather than revealing their exact ages. Luckily, there was no need to identify exact ages and therefore age brackets were sued such as ages to 25, 26 to 30 etc.
Social Class or Income
The other thing that definitely affects consumer choices and preferences is class and the depth of one’s pocket (Gerald, 2009). The research was designed to identify how consumer preferences would be affected by the financial status of the potential consumer. This information would be very important because it can then be sued along with economic data available from various institutions to make strategic market decisions. The research was to identify the different drives that would useful in delivering a market condition that creates a special market need that could be met in a special way. Again, the challenge met here was how to get this information without making the respondents to feel like their privacy is being invaded. As such, income brackets were used to get income information for respondents rather than asking the respondents to give exact figures. To identify the social class the responds may be coming from, they were asked open equations where they would give the most comfortable answer. While this is usually tricky because the respondents can and do in fact give ambiguous answers, the trade off is that the answers are more honest and therefore reliable.
What do you look for in a perfume?
This question was designed to identify how exactly a woman regards her perfume. With the answers given here, one can be able to identify how the market for perfume and generally designer perfume is growing or declining. This question helps to understand the thoughts that a woman has with regard to what a perfume can and should do for her. As simple as the question may seem, it can provide invaluable insights into what a woman will be looking for in a perfume. The answers range from comfort, confidence, class or even relaxation. This can help to identify which age groups and ort classes look for which traits in a perfume (Wilson, 2008).
Would you consider having two or more perfumes on your cosmetics table?
This question is almost like a follow-up on the first question. The aim is to identify how consumer behavior is changing with regard to perfume consumption. This is very important for a perfume designer and this new trend that any designer should be aware of. By discovering that that there is enough market for people who need a range of perfume fragrances on their cosmetic table is like a gold mine. This question is designed to identify whether there is a solid market niche or a developing market that could be met. This is very important for strategic market leadership which could give the designer an upper hand in the market.
What does a perfume mean to you?
This question, in its simplicity can help draw a line between those who are potential market for designer perfume and those who are not. To an ordinary modern woman, perfume may mean class, wealth and self respect. In such a case, it then becomes very evident that such a woman would be the potential customer for designer perfume. This kind of information is helpful in generating a projection of the size and needs of the designer perfume market (Luke, 2010).
Does wearing a designer perfume make you feel more important?
A follow up to the preceding question, this question brings out the real feeling that the respondent may have with regard to her perfume. Not only that, it is a confirmation to the preceding question and the validity of the answer to the preceding question is dependent of the answer to this question. If the respondent gives two answers that are incompatible, the answers may have to be regarded as dishonest and undependable.
Do you prefer designer perfume to generic perfume, do you have any reservations?
This question is supposed to deliver the respondent’s attitudes towards designer perfume. If the respondent has any issues with designer perfume, such as the packaging, pricing or creativity that will clearly come out here as the question is semi open. This question is like a guide to the respondent to make her forget that it is an interview and explore her true feelings about the subject or object, in this case designer perfume being the subject and object. This, as Stephen (2009) points out, is absolutely necessary because when such an interview is too open or too closed in terms of questions asked, the respondent is more likely to give answers that she thinks are politically correct rather than give honest responses.
Would you be willing to spend more to get designer perfume instead of generic brands?
Instead of a Yes or No answer, a genuine answer will include an explanation. A person who is really a designer perfume fan will go on to explain why she would be willing to dig deeper into her purse to get designer perfume and ignore the generic perfume. This will be a culmination to identify the real designer perfume consumer.
Can you say your perfume usage has changed in the last two years?
This question is designed to determine how the market for perfume is changing over time. It is a confirmation of whether or not the average consumer is changing her consumer trends with regard to perfume usage.
Findings from the qualitative research
The research showed a dynamic market that is changing at a higher rate. More respondents admitted to have changed the way they use perfume within the last one to two years. For instance, a majority admitted to have been concerned about other issues about a perfume more than just the fragrance. The more open respondents said they unlike in the past, they were now curious to know the chemical components of the perfume and be assured that there are no side effect, either immediate or long-term. Another important issue that was imminent was that most of the respondents especially ages twenty five to forty said they would wear the most expensive perfume they can afford as this sends a message of class, self respect and wealth. As a result, the more successful women showed a tendency to be more careful with the perfume they wear and therefore more appreciative of designer perfume.
Identification of new market needs
Those respondents who showed a greater interest in designer perfume showed that they were interested in the availability of well designed fragrance range that can allow them to wear several designer perfumes without ending up with clashing fragrances. This is especially important given the fact that the fragrance of a perfume seems to persist and therefore is one switch between two conflicting fragrances she might end up with a messy odor. This is important information for any designer and should be taken into consideration when designing the perfume. The finding that more perfume especially designer perfume users are now using more than one fragrances is on that will revolutionize the art (or science) of perfume manufacturing. Now, developing a new product in the design perfume category will require that the designer consider using more than just one product in order to give the customers a range for changing.
The other important finding was the finding on pricing. Pricing of designer perfume will be just as important as designing it, and it will also have the same importance in determining how successful the product will be in the market.
Mall intercept interviews
The design would involve identifying potential respondents to interview and giving them an open and polite invite to answer the questions. Because it is in a mall and the responds will definitely not have planned for this and therefore hardly be able to spare time for the interview, the data collection part should be as simple as possible to allow the respondents not to feel like their time is being wasted.
The venue would be at a shopping mall, but just for convenience, there would be set up a desk where those respondents willing to participate would be invited to. Intercepting strangers and convincing them for an interview is not easy, people fell that they are wasting their time. To make it worse, as Evans (2010) says, the fact that they are strangers leaves them with no social bond that makes them feel obliged to be nice to the person asking. While many people may not realize, this means that if one is not careful, he or she may end up interviewing only the Mr. and Mrs. Nice who are just too nice to turn off anybody. The problem with Mr. and Mrs. Nice is that their niceness goes a long way and therefore this may mean that they will only give nice answers in the interview (Fredrick, 2009). Needless to point out, this is no good for any research. Research requires honest responses from people who are not afraid of speaking their minds no matter what others think. To avoid just fetching nice respondents who will only give nice answers, the research will depend of confident, authoritative people to intercept these potential respondents. The person inviting the respondents has to always remember to indicate that the research is to help the company give them even better services (everybody wants to hear that they can get better services), and of course, that is true (Davidson, 2009).
The respondents will then be invited to the desk where they will answer simple well designed questions from a questionnaire that is designed to be easy to fill, thus taking least time possible.
1. Age of respondent
2. Income bracket of the respondent
3. Product preference
4. Any unmet needs
5. Expectations in future products
How often do you change your perfume?
How often do you wear you perfume, (twice a day, once a day, as many times as possible)?
What do you look for in a perfume?
Do you have any unmet needs that you think future products should meet?
What would make you choose designer perfume over generic perfume?
With regard to price, where do you think the boundaries should be placed?
The research would most likely connect older women with different needs for designer perfume than those who are much younger. The explanation could be that that the older women are definitely experienced and may know exactly what to look for in a perfume. Not only that, they are definitely richer because they’ve been around long enough to make money and therefore may not shy away from the more expensive designer perfume. Apart from that, they are busier in terms of the functions they attend to such as business meetings, official parties, office etc, unlike the younger girls who may have much more regular and less official lives (Allan, 2009). Still, the findings could most probably show that there is a new trend for users to user a set of or at least a range of perfume for different purposes. It would also show that as the market expands, the needs are changing very fast, requiring the designer to have to come up with different ways to catch up and be at par with the consumer.
With research, ethical considerations are very important because it is always easy for the researcher to step over the respondent’s sensitive areas (Bernard, 2009). While market research is not as prone to this as other scientific researches, there are still issues to look out for, such as the respondent’s privacy. As (Jackson, 2009) says, most people feel violated and their privacy invaded is asked questions that may seem too personal. As a result, it will be important for the questionnaires to have questions that are not offensive. The questions should not intrude into the respondent’s private life and should show that the respondent is respected. The respondents should not be blackmailed or otherwise forced or tricked into answering the questions.