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Junkk RE:tie Market Research Report

Dr. Ann Bicknell, Chartered Psychologist


UW Business School

August 2010

With funding support from a voucher provided by

This report is the property of its author and citations from it should be referenced accordingly. The author
reserves the right to publish the results of research data anonymously, or outside of this project, or with
permission from the client if the product is to be identified.

University of Worcester Business School


Henwick Grove
Worcester WR2 6AJ
a.bicknell@worc.ac.uk

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Introduction:

This research project was completed as a piece of independent and objective market
research without any involvement of the client in data collection, analysis or
interpretation.

“Power in organisations comes from the control of knowledge and …information.


Marketing Research therefore equates to power.” Bradley, (2007, p5).

It is important to remember that in the collection of this data, consumer awareness has already
been activated at a local level, this is itself advertising the product with previous research
findings suggesting greater purchase intention in surveyed as compared to un-surveyed
consumers (Chandon, Morwitz & Werner, (2005).

Market research seeks to generate consumer insight (Evans, Jamal & Foxall, 2009). However,

“…much traditional customer research dampens creativity... It makes the assumption that
customers have the ability and imagination to envision the future, to know what they will desire
tomorrow and to be able to articulate that desire.” Ind & Watt, (2006, p1).

The example usually given to illustrate this apparent paradox is the apple iPhone™,. This
product could well have „failed‟ in standard focus group research had that been its route to
market, from being too innovative compared to what had gone before. And yet, it is hugely
successful. It may have appeared „too different‟ from existing mobile phone concepts and it is
highly unlikely that a focus group would have developed such a product concept „from scratch‟.
As such, one cannot remove the importance of innovation from successful product design any
more than one can expect the results of any market, or other kind of research, to accurately
predict the future. What market research does function to do is an early stage risk-assessment
and is especially useful for product concept development and refinement, rather than for
inspiration as such (Bradley, 2007). It can offer different types of intelligence as shown:

Market Description
Intelligence
Type
Defensive To avoid surprises, monitor the environment and support
Intelligence any „hunches‟ of what might be happening. An alert of
major changes.

Passive To provide benchmark data to compare the company‟s


Intelligence own performance and use it to evaluate objectives

Offensive To identify opportunities that would not otherwise be


Intelligence discovered

The RE:tie is therefore at an appropriate stage in its development for market research feedback
at both the defensive and offensive levels discussed by Bradley, (2005). The data in this report
additionally offers some forward planning potential with which to conduct passive intelligence
monitoring in the future, from these initial benchmark values.

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The objectives of this market research as detailed in the original proposal (see
appendices) are to:

a) Explore customer reactions to the product concept of the RE:tie

b) Compare customer response data from two grocery retailer survey samples

The purpose here is therefore to report objective validity evidence which was specifically
collected for this product. This data captured potential consumer responses in an unaffected
manner in order to allow a „customer appraisal‟ of the RE:tie at this phase in product
development.

It is entirely up to the client (Junkk) to decide which findings, if any, should be taken forward. To
this end, the author is happy to discuss the content of this report following delivery of it.

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Literature Review:

A focused review of relevant literature was carried out to inform the design of the questionnaire
and to demonstrate the construct-related validity in this market research. Theoretical
foundations add to the reliability of market research as theories and frameworks are under
continual examination and review in the academic literature and so have, to varying degrees,
been tested to demonstrate their relevance „in the field‟ in terms of predicting human behaviour.

The grocery market has been the subject of a great deal of consumer research and is
essentially a mature and stable market. Customer panel studies suggest that in mature markets,
brand sales do not alter substantively from year to year (East et.al., 2008). In these markets,
advantages can therefore be gained from product differentiation features can „interrupt‟ and
potentially alter habitual purchase patterns (Belch & Belch, 2009). Adding environmental
sustainability and re-cycling attributes to products are one way that differentiation can be
achieved – this is known as „cause related‟ marketing (Kotler & Lee, 2008).

Such product attributes, if appealing to customers, can illuminate or enlarge its „personality‟ in
the mind of the consumer (Zaltman, 2003) and potentially accelerate purchase decision-making
(Rajogopal, 2009). This effect has been suggested to function through concepts known as „halo
characteristics‟ in social psychology or „nudge factors‟ from a more behavioural-economics
approach. These nudge factors operate to facilitate human judgement in a benevolent way,
according to Thaler & Sunstein, (2008), such that even “apparently insignificant details can have
major effects on people‟s behaviour” (p3). These details help to structure the „decision
architecture‟ in the environment around us and if we consider the amount of stimuli competing
four our attention in a typical grocery store or supermarket, that could be very helpful to the
product on sale as well as to the consumer.

A similar effect can also be seen in research into „augmented products‟ (Colgate, 2002). This is
the idea that if a product possesses more than one reason to purchase it in terms perhaps of
one rational (utilitarian) and one irrational (emotional – by choosing this product I will be doing
something positive for the environment), the customer is more likely to choose the augmented
product. Whether a „nudge‟ will be successful can depend on a number of factors; the
congruence or „authenticity‟ of the attribute compared with the host product (Rajogopal, 2008) or
basic appeal. Is it consistent with customer expectations, e.g. of a product which is sustainably
manufactured, or a supermarket which advocates a strong environmental sustainability
message more than a „no frills, buy one get one free‟ approach? And of course there are other
marketing issues around price and perceptions of value that are beyond the scope of this report.

Point of sales display is important even in supermarkets as a large proportion of grocery


purchase decisions are made at the point of purchase (East, Wright & Vanhuele, 2008). This
explains the use of directional sales affinity data e.g. toothpaste and toothbrushes increase the
likelihood of buying chewing gum if locally placed, but not the other way around (Bezawada et.
al, 2009). In this way we can see that purchasing the additional attribute only occurs if the
consumer is potentially on a congruent „psychological journey‟ in the store and is aware of the
additional advantages of the purchase. So in the example above, the consumer would be
shopping for toothpaste and, being conscientious about their dental hygiene, the hanging packs
of chewing gum are able to offer an additional attractive attribute to purchase. However, if the
customer was on a date and wanted fresh breath, they would only be thinking about the
chewing gum, not their general dental health.

The RE:tie is at first glance, a utilitarian device – it serves perhaps a domestic function and
reduces waste by re-cycling something that would have been thrown away. As such it is not
only a utilitarian product as it has the potential to effect an emotional reaction in the consumer
that is consistent with their personal values system. An additional theoretical framework offers
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insights here which maybe useful in product concept development. This is the Four Pleasures
Framework (Jordan, 2000). It categorises products in terms of their hedonomic attributes.
Hedonomics is concerned with „pleasure in products‟ and is an extension of ergonomics, which
is about form and function. Hedonomics accepts that there are other levels at which consumers
interact with products as shown below:

1. Physio-pleasure – sensory: visual, touch, taste, auditory, smell, e.g. the tactile
and olfactory or auditory properties of products

2. Socio-pleasure – enjoyment from relationships through status and image

3. Psycho-pleasure – cognitive and emotional reactions which facilitate a ‘good


feeling’ & reduces stress

4. Ideo-pleasure – moral or personal values e.g. environmentalism, or high level


of aesthetic appreciation

One product may not necessarily achieve them all. It is important to identify which level and for
whom? Who [exactly] are your targeted customers? Collecting responses to a „new product‟
which can evidence reactions at each of these levels would count as evidence that the
consumer is psychologically engaging with a product. In this latter question, demographic
variables can play differential roles in grocery purchasing behaviour such as age and gender
(McDonald, 1994) as well as a preference for grocery shopping online (Gilbert & Veloutsou,
2005). For now, it is sufficient to consider these variables in terms of their congruence with a
product and its target market as more generic marketing issues.

There is a possibility that the RE:tie could appeal to elderly or disability customer markets as it
removes the need for the peel off tamper proof seal which these groups may find difficult to use.
The RE:tie also has a larger grip than the standard tear-off seal for e.g. milk containers, which
may be preferred by people with limited mobility in their hands e.g. due to arthritis. Specific
research with advocates or members of these groups would be needed to validate this but it will
be interesting to observe if any of the spontaneous qualitative data endorses this. For example,
if respondents convey an „imagined use‟ which would also constitute data at level 3 in Jordan‟s
framework above, perhaps for someone they know such as an elderly relative or even
themselves, this would suggest a „behavioural proxy‟ for the potential of the RE:tie to utilise
alternative customer education information, perhaps in a product specific manner, for different
target markets.

Finally it is pertinent to consider a widely researched model in social psychology concerning the
interplay between attitudes, intentions and behaviour; The Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen
& Fishbein, 1977), which has since been applied to consumer behaviour through the automatic
activation of attitudes relating to an object (Fazio, 1990). Taken together, these models indicate
the sources of consumer attitudes and the mechanisms through which they operate on
consumer behaviour as represented in the following slide:

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Model of the Theory of Planned Behaviour
(adapted from Ajzen & Fishbein, 1977)
 Attempts to combine
attitudes, intentions Influences
Behaviour External
from in-
and behaviours variables
store
displays &
 Each of these form product
information Intention
‘weights’ which lead to
a prediction estimate
for the behaviour

 E.g. for products that Attitude to Subjective Perceived


behaviour norm control
can be re-cycled™

Outcome Referent Control


Beliefs Beliefs Beliefs
Is there potential for a ‘nudge’
at any of these locations?

The major difficulty in the consumer research area and indeed social psychology more
generally, is that correlations between attitudes and behaviour are often assumed when in fact
they are inconsistent, as has been discussed in terms of market research using behavioural
proxies to indicate purchase intention. Research by these authors in the model, has indicated
that when the elements of Attitude to the Behaviour (AB), Subjective Norm (SN) & (Perceived
Control (PC) are given „weights‟ which can lead to a prediction estimate for the behaviour, the
accuracy of subsequent behavioural prediction range is around 17-39%. It is however, much
higher for those who express a purchase intention (PI) when it can increase towards 80%,
hence the value of this concept to marketers and market researchers.

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RE:tie Market Research Methodology
Design:
The research is a cross-sectional (one point in time) street shopper survey which is appropriate
for the client need (Bradley, 2009). It evaluated adult grocery store customer responses which
was consistent with the target market for the intended product, thereby demonstrating ecological
validity or relevance of the research to direct product development and roll-out with this
consumer segment. The data was explored with reference to academic (peer-reviewed)
literature on consumer behaviour and product design.

The „interview administered‟ questionnaire (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009) is a survey
method that has a number of advantages for new product scoping; it allows the respondent to
interact with the product and to see and hear it „in use‟ (via a short video (less than one minute)
of the product in domestic consumer use) as opposed to completing a questionnaire with only a
picture of a product. It also reduces the number of spoiled questionnaires and missing data,
thereby increasing efficiency. Most importantly, interview administered questionnaires allow for
any queries or misunderstandings from the respondent to be clarified by the interviewer, thereby
increasing the validity of data, or the extent to which the data measures that which it purports to
measure.

Ethical Research Practice:


Permissions were sought from two supermarket store managers prior to data collection outside
these stores; a Poundland which is a lower-priced, Midlands based retailer and a comparison
sample was obtained from a higher priced, large chain retailer, whose marketing has a strong
emphasis on environmental sustainability issues. Respondents were not pressured to
participate and agreed to this whilst in the course of entering or leaving a grocery store. The
standard script at the top of the questionnaire was read out to them, Primary Researcher contact
details were provided for anyone who requested them (no one did) and the whole demonstration
and questionnaire was designed to be completed within five minutes to avoid „survey fatigue‟
(Bryman & Bell, 2009). That a number of respondents were very „candid‟ in their comments (see
excerpts in this report and „raw‟ qualitative data in appendices) attests to the open or „honest‟
nature of them and supports the face validity and content validity of the survey tool and data
collection strategy.

Data Collection:
The questionnaire schedule was constructed in such a way as to gather spontaneously
produced information from the respondent, rather than to merely „tick a box‟ in front of them.
The former reduces the problem of „self generated validity‟ (Chandon, Morwitz & Werner, (2005)
which is a common problem in the design of research. That is; the act of measurement inflates
the association between attitude and behaviour or, respondents acting to tick boxes or selecting
answers from given suggestions, merely because they have been asked to by a researcher, or
worse, because they are being incentivised to do so, rather than producing their own responses
as the result of genuine, independent thought.

The questionnaire contains a mix of quantitative (numerical) and qualitative (verbal comment)
data as is appropriate for applied, market research (Sapsford & Jupp, 2006). The quantitative
data was submitted to descriptive and inferential statistical analysis as appropriate (mainly non-
parametric Chi 2 tests acknowledging the sample size and data level - categories). Where
statistical significance is reported this is taken at the p<0.05 level or higher. This means that
there is a probability of 5% or less that the results were obtained as a result of chance alone,
rather than being the result of an „effect‟ that is worth taking notice of. This is the accepted level
of significance or „importance‟ in the social sciences. A simple „template‟ or „thematic‟ analysis
was conducted with the qualitative data to produce groups of themes within respondent
comments (Cassell & Simon, 1994 ; Seale, 1999). This qualitative data does not indicate
quantity but rather explanation of the quantitative data. Collecting two data types allows for
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„triangulation‟ which refers to both data sources offering consistent findings, thus increasing the
reliability of the findings, or the extent to which we would expect to repeat these findings, were
the research to be repeated.

Sampling:
A target sample of 100 randomly approached shoppers was the initial goal, which is accepted to
be statistically meaningful in the social sciences (Bryman & Bell, 2009). In light of the decision
not to run a focus group due to lack of sufficient product prototypes, the sample size was
increased to aim for 100 from each of the retailers. The completion rate after 18 hours of data
collection was 69% (n=137) completed questionnaires split as a comparable 68/69 between the
two stores. This retains statistical meaningfulness allowing for robust interrogation of data and
is considered a „good‟ return rate (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2010).

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Survey Results & Interpretation:

Demographics of the sample:

The two researchers collected data for 18 hours over 4 days. They were instructed to ascribe
ages and gender to respondents rather than ask them as some people can find this off-putting
and the ranges are broad enough to remain valid as follows:

Age range

Cumulative
Frequency Percent Percent
Valid under
32 23.4 23.5
25
26-35 23 16.8 40.4
36-45 39 28.5 69.1
46
and 42 30.7 100.0
over
Total 137 100.0

A notable point is that 60% of the sample are 36 and over, with the smallest category being 25
and under at 24%. This could be said to approximate a „typical‟ sample of grocery store
customers and therefore support the reliability of the study for this market segment.

Overall, females formed the larger part of the sample at 58% n=80 compared with 41% n= 56
males. Given that in a qualitative question, wife, girlfriend and mother were also reported as
doing more of the grocery shopping than husband, boyfriend or dad, and in both stores, it can
be taken that most groceries continue to be purchased in these stores by females. There was a
statistically significant (Chi 2) association between gender and store, with the largest difference
being between the number of females than males who were shopping at the „higher end‟
grocery store. On this basis, it may be pertinent to consider whether gender is a factor in other
consumer behaviour patterns in this research and later in the product life-cycle, in terms of
considering „point of sale‟ product information.

Product Questions:

The remaining data is interpreted alongside relevant theoretical models and frameworks
introduced earlier, attesting to the criterion related validity (consistency with existing academic
knowledge) of this piece of market research and allowing for a comparison of the potential for
the RE:tie alongside existing knowledge about consumer psychology and successful product
design.

Is it ‘new’?
A statistically significant difference (Chi 2) was observed between the number of respondents
reporting that they had not seen anything like this before (n=126) compared to those who
reported that they had, attesting to an innovative quality. Further, significantly higher numbers
of respondents reported that they would use the RE:tie as shown in the video (n=73) or 53% of
the sample, with a further (n=29) or an additional 21% indicating „maybe or possibly‟ they would
use it. This makes a total of (n=102) or 74% of the sample indicating a „pro-use‟ attitude.

Further, (n=90) or 66% of the sample indicated that they knew someone who they could
recommend it to. Taken together, these findings supply some evidence for the validity of the
product concept as fit-for-purpose in terms of a representative sample grocery store customers
and the products they purchase. When asked what they thought of the RE:tie, the following
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qualitative data from the majority of respondents demonstrates a selection of spontaneously
produced positive comments:

Good idea, potentially useful, reducing waste is always good, good if you will use it,
inventive, eco-friendly, good for easy opening, similar to cable tie, nice addition to
bottle, creative, innovative, multi-use, good if able [to use it].

Negative comments were from n=35 respondents or 26% of the sample who said they would not
use it. This is not an insignificant portion of the sample, but the product is not expected to
appeal to everyone. Comments included the following:

Pointless, solving an issue which isn‟t there, maybe hard for old or disabled, solving a
problem that isn‟t there, niche market, waste of time, crap.

Is it useful to consumers?
When asked, most respondents who said they would use it, could think of at least one use for
the product with only n=26 not reporting any. Uses included: tying bin or rubbish bags (this was
shown in the video), tying freezer bags, cable ties, holding newspapers rolled, DIY, arts and
craft pursuits, music equipment, keeping bread fresh and children‟s lunches. A large number of
respondents acknowledged that it would be good for the manufacturer to „suggest‟ other uses
with a label on the product.

Is it helpful to the ‘host’ product or brand using it?


In terms of it‟s power as a „halo characteristic‟ for the host product which is the primary purchase
e.g. milk and for which the RE:tie may function as a „nudge‟ in consumer decision making,
respondents were asked what a product like the RE:tie „says to the consumer‟ about the product
which is carrying it? There was a clear majority of responses which included „environmentally
friendly, eco-aware, green, re-cycling, re-usable‟ themes. This is encouraging as it is in line with
the reducing waste motives for designing the product. Other themes included „caring for
consumer, consumer aware, considering potentially elderly or disability consumers‟.

Does it offer ‘pleasure in a product’?


The above findings are encouraging as they relate to a number of levels of the hedonomics
„pleasures in products‟ framework where consumers have „pleasurable responses‟ at more than
functional or utilitarian levels. Typically, they move from a sensory response (feel and texture),
to a social response (e.g. imagining the product in use for someone they know); next to a
psychological level (where they imagine using the product themselves for a particular purpose)
and finally to an ideological level (where they feel „good‟ about supporting moral or ideological
values in re-use). From this, albeit modest sample, it would appear that the RE:tie starts from
the „top down‟ in this framework and manages to meet two levels (psychological and ideological
pleasure) consistently well, with the other two levels (sensory and social pleasure) to am lesser
extent. This is what would be expected for a product which has been designed primarily with re-
cycling motives through providing another use for an item that would otherwise be waste. It is
not normally expected that any one product should meet all of the „pleasure‟ levels and the
RE:tie appears to perform rather well in this respect. Examples of qualitative data at each of the
„Four Pleasure‟ levels are shown below:

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1. Physio-pleasure – sensory: visual, touch, taste, auditory, smell, e.g. the tactile
and olfactory or auditory properties of products

It doesn't look like a cable tie, they are flat on one side and may not work ins ame
way
State that it is re-usable
Prototype does not seem very secure
Improve prototype, stronger, more grip, wider.
Need to explain reasons for product
Hole [on prototype] too big, could have text saying re-use and re-cycle
Make it attractive

2. Socio-pleasure – enjoyment from relationships through status and image

Benefitting people who struggle opening normal bottles


Conscious of disabilities
Conscious of environmental [issues] and the elderly
Will be successful with families

3. Psycho-pleasure – cognitive and emotional reactions which facilitate a ‘good


feeling’ & reduces stress

About the product:


Making life easier
Multi-use
Consumer conscious
Consumer friendly
Nice freebie
Multi-use inventive
Creative
[plus data on uses for product suggested by sample referred to above]

About the company:


Entrepreneurial
Innovative company

4. Ideo-pleasure – moral or personal values e.g. environmentalism, or high level


of aesthetic appreciation

Caring
Environmentally friendly
Reducing waste always good
Caring, environment conscious
Conscious of up to date issues
Want all product parts to be used
Green product, re-cyclable
Environmentally friendly, trying to re-cycle
Encourages re-using then re-cycling
Want to plan for the future

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Can the RE:tie potentially increase sales of the ‘host product’?
In terms of this as evidence for the „nudge‟ effect of the RE:tie, respondents indicated that if
there were two products on a shelf and one had this RE:tie on it, significantly more (at least
n=93) of them would choose that product over the other one with it. This is called „purchase
intention‟ and is a commonly measured behavioural „proxy‟ in consumer research in the
absence of actual sales data. We cannot measure these as the product is in development and
may never be „on sale‟ as such. In this way we can begin to see the RE:tie potentially acting to
„facilitate consumer decision making‟ and previous consumer research has suggested that the
faster a consumer is able to make a decision when faced with competing choices, the better
they „feel‟ about the decision. This reduces „cognitive dissonance‟ or unpleasant or confusing
feelings about which product to purchase.

What specific marketing strategies does purchase of products with the RE:tie on
suggest?
For low involvement products (typically low cost or repeat purchases), other factors act to
moderate this relationship between product and consumer purchase behaviour as shown in the
coloured slide in the literature review referring to the work of Ajzen & Fishbein, (1975) and
Fazio, (1990), in particular:

1. which products or brands have been bought by family/parents and or significant peer
groups and are the „subjective norm‟, or
2. which products or brands are motivated by „outcome beliefs‟ (what customers believe
the product will do for them), or
3. which products or brands are purchased with „control beliefs‟ (the belief that you are
capable of making an informed and „good decision‟ about product choice in this case

This is referring to a well researched theory of human decision making. Thinking about the
RE:tie, applying this framework has a number of potential outcomes:

1. Targeting „big brands‟ of groceries that are widely and repeatedly purchased would
achieve status as part of the subjective norm. Additionally, targeting products in „green
consumer markets‟ would appeal to the accepted „subjective norm‟ of environmentalism. This
would also be consistent with ideas of product congruence for the RE:tie.

2. Demonstrating uses for the product, perhaps on a small leaflet attached to the RE:tie
would allow the potential customer to „imagine themselves using‟ the product e.g. having a tidy
rubbish bin, neatly stored garden canes, improving storage of hobby items and cables or well
tied tomato plants and create facilitative outcome beliefs.

3. Targeting „niche market‟ product for users such as hobbyists, DIY-ers or hardware
product users, who are more likely to be „experienced purchasers‟ of those items e.g. plant food
etc. are conceptualised as consumers with with high Perceived Control beliefs about that area of
their lives (Fazio, 1990). Targeting „niche markets‟ may additionally offer potential access of the
RE:tie to primarily online markets e.g. specialist technology or hobbyist items for whom the
„augmentation‟ of the RE:tie on the host product would be expected to appeal as its use creates
an additional meaningful „nudge‟ in their consumer decision-making.

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Would consumers be prepared to pay more for the RE:tie?
Perceptions of cost-value are on a sliding scale and in some cases, consumers will expect to
pay more for an „augmented product‟ than its un-augmented competitor e.g. cholesterol
reducing margarines are typically double the price of ordinary margarine. Thinking about the
RE:tie, discriminations and differentiation will probably be closely linked with the concepts just
discussed (the congruence and affinity of the product to the RE:tie augmentation solution
offered, as well as the involvement status of the host product – is it expensive or something
which customers invest „research‟ prior to purchase? Or, is it a habitual, low involvement or low-
cost purchase? Even habitual purchases can e powerful e.g. supermarkets use milk as a
„destination item‟

In this research these concepts were evaluated on the basis of the host product being a carton
of milk. Unsurprisingly, whilst one or two respondents indicated they would pay e.g. 25p for the
product with the RE:tie, it would be invalid to conclude that anything other than a clear and
significant majority were keen to see it as costing nothing more or only „two or three pennies‟ on
top of the cost of the host product. That the average was 2p suggests that respondents did
however attribute the RE:tie with some „value‟.

Were these grocery consumers shopping ‘green’?


There were no significant differences either between the numbers of respondents reporting that
they buy particular groceries because they were environmentally friendly (an almost equal split
between those reporting yes or no). Nor were there any significant associations here with
gender and re-usable or environmentally friendly product purchases. The „half‟ of this sample
who said they did make particular purchases for this reason mostly referenced use of a milkman
for re-use of bottles, refilling packets e.g. coffee and washing powder and being mindful of
reducing packaging e.g. by purchasing loose fruit and vegetables. Perhaps surprisingly, there
was no significant association between those reporting specific environmentally motivated
grocery purchasing behaviours and store type. In other words, this was a random sample and
not an especially „green‟ one.

Does the RE:tie have a potential elderly or disability market?


Again, comparably equal numbers of respondents either had or did not have someone in their
family who was either elderly or disabled who might benefit from the reportedly „easier to use‟
tag to open the RE:tie (use of the RE:tie removes the need for the plastic, tamper-proof, peel-off
seal on liquids). Looking at it another way, approximately half of the sample did suggest an
elderly relative, disabled e.g. arthritic member of the family or even children, who they thought
may prefer the use of the RE:tie to the plastic seal alternative (see raw data in appendices).

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What advice would consumers give to the small business of the RE:tie?
Putting respondents in something of a „position of power‟ where they are „giving advice‟ can
often facilitate more candid and useful insights relating to the potential customer perspective. It
therefore functions as „defensive intelligence‟ to avoid surprises and to support any „hunches‟
about what might be happening with consumer demand (Bradley, 2009).

Here, spontaneously produced comments in the main were positive, if brief. Examples of the
main themes are show below and the first one in particular is quite telling in terms of assessing
potential consumer‟s appraisal of the RE:tie device – they are asking for education about it:

Suggest extra uses on the RE:tie:


Provide lots of ideas as there are only so many cable ties I need
Need to advertise uses
Advertise uses and re-cycling
Need to explain reason for product
Make improvements identifiable, target green market, larger than elderly.
Good idea, really need to sell it and explain ways to use it
Identify advantages
Could put slogans on the tie, e.g. "tie me round your bin bag"
The uses need to be everyday and not simply one off, such as tying cables as people
will end up with many of these ties.

Target specific markets:


Target older people
Aim at children and elderly
Target the young
Good for elderly, go for it.
Target successful family [markets]
Target elderly vitamin bottles. Needs a lot of promotion.

Target specific brands:


Target somewhere like [high end supermarket] where they care about the
environment
Should be put with a major brand to improve their products' packaging
Aim commercially, aim at one brand.

Price:
Needs to remain competitive with regular products
Price competitively
Consider if this is financially viable?

These suggestions present a number of strategies to consider, relating to the analysis in


general. Some of these maybe mutually exclusive, for example, a brand such as „Innocent™‟
may find a product like the RE:tie attractive as it is congruent with their brand and product
values. However, a big brand may want exclusivity. A „destination shopping item‟ such as milk,
may be targeted through the makers of the cartons‟, but ultimately its application may only be on
selected brands as a „product differentiator‟. In this case and to create a „brand‟ for the RE:tie
itself, perhaps it should be in a distinctive colour that consumers would come to recognise
across the selected brands that came to host it. Differentiation in what we should remember are
competitive and very stable markets such as grocery purchase (East, et. Al, 2008) in this case,
maybe very valuable.

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Looking further at a selection of the less positive comments, this encourages reflection for
product development:

Constructive critique comments:


Needs to be stronger, bigger, more grip, more uses.
Make attractive.

Don't bother, more useful ideas could be thought of.


Find another idea.
Don't think people would bother to save the ties
Feel its fixing a problem which doesn‟t need to be fixed.
People will just throw it away.

Not suitable for arthritic as still small grip


Needs to be stronger, more grip needed for people with arthritis

Prototype does not seem secure


Prototype not very tight and firm grip

As has been acknowledged, no single product is expected to have a universal appeal. Clearly,
consumers need to „be convinced‟ that the product or its augmentation will be successful at
what it claims to do e.g. to function as a re-usable cable tie. Here, some concerns were
communicated about the strength and suitability of the prototype. The prototype used in the
market research was engineered for the research, not as a product and was only meant to
confer the idea behind the product to potential consumers. It was not formally manufactured for
purpose.

Additionally, for some consumers, the idea of the RE:tie knocked at their „threshold of
indignation‟ and produced a candidly negative reaction, as they could not see a viable use for it.
In such cases, a prudent first step in introducing a product to the market would be to „preach to
the converted‟ elements of consumers on the grounds of product use or value congruence,
rather than to attempt a „mass conversion‟.

It is however, worth considering such comments rather than simply dismissing them as minority
feedback. This reaction may indicate a gap in the „psychological journey‟ of the product‟s use-
cycle; it is less likely that consumers who purchase a product with the RE:tie on it for
consumption outside the home (e.g. buying and drinking a bottle of smoothie for lunch) will take
an extra step of retaining the RE:tie on their person, taking it home and re-using it as instructed.
It is more likely that this link and therefore perceived additional benefit, will be activated on
products which are likely to be consumed in the home or domestic environment close to where
the re-use will occur.

Finally, it is always good practice to include an open question to collect any other comments
from respondents (Denscombe, 2003). This gives them a „good experience‟ of being involved in
research and ensures they leave having felt adequately „listened to‟. The few who made
additional comments added nothing new to data gathered in previous sections of the
questionnaire, again, supporting its content validity and comprehensive but efficient
construction.

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Recommendations:

To re-iterate: It is entirely up to the client (Junkk) to decide which findings, if any, should be
taken forward. To this end, the author is happy to discuss the content of this report following
delivery of it.

Capitalise on the significant respondent finding of „newness‟ of this re-cyclable „cable tie‟
product concept in marketing materials

Ensure that potential uses are suggested to the consumer either at point of sale in the store or
using a „neck tie‟ label at initial uptake on the product with images of different uses – this is a
consistent finding from data in this market research – potential consumers can only attribute
value when the use messages are clear

It must be emphasised that the overall positive response to the RE:tie product in this
market research was gathered ‘post explanation and demonstration’ through a video –
without this, it is likely that feedback would have been substantively reduced

For suggestions re use images see the content of the qualitative data reported in this
document; in particular the use-value and „four pleasure‟ data

Consider also the „psychological journey‟ of the potential consumer in images concerning
storing and keeping the RE:tie product, prior to its re-use – show the consumer it is easily do-
able – if they never get as far as re-use, the differentiation or augmentation function will be
reduced. As one respondent observed, “having these on high volume products such as milk,
one could accumulate a lot of them” and their „added value‟ as a nudge factor may diminish.

Consider use of generic point of sale (in-store) information such as an „I‟m with the RE:tie‟
slogan which could be used across products later on in product uptake

Consider the extent to which potential host product choice indicates „congruence‟ with the
target market for a favourable response to the RE;tie such that its presence can act as a
differentiator and a „nudge‟

Clarify which marketing message is in use for each product: e.g. Environmentally friendly
products that activate level four of the „pleasure in product‟ framework have more potential to
work with high-involvement or higher priced purchases as well as habitual, high volume or
repeat purchases

For markets which operate in a more niche manner such as DIY/hardware products that would
demand the use of a „cable tie‟ in a related activity associated with buying the product, consider
„product affinities‟ or things that naturally „go together‟ e.g. plant ties on a liquid plant food
container

Capitalise on the significant respondent finding of the RE:tie as a potential product


differentiator stable product markets, this may act to increase consumer decision-making in a
situation of high competition

The preference reported was for the RE:tie to cost no more than 2p extra on the host-product

Consider collecting endorsement for new markets e.g. the elderly or with limited mobility use to
ensure the ethical „green‟ attributes are consistent with ethical advantages to other consumer

Page 16
segments – ensure it does what it says it will! Fore example: setting up „product clinics with
AgeConcern members, employees or similar advocates with credibility for the particular market.

The above point also necessitates an overall recommendation for the use of workable and
robust RE:tie products. Some negative comments and problems were noted by respondents
when interacting with the ones used in this research.

Investigate the internet for other niche or brand communities that may relate well to this
product by suggesting new RE:tie solutions and to open up potential routes to alternative
dissemination markets

Future market research:

A larger sample can always be helpful to conduct finer grained analysis e.g. breaking down
results by age, gender and store location would help to specify market segmentation. However,
it is clear that all of these categories contained individuals who responded positively to the
product and so it is questionable how much new information would be gained from conducting
such a study at this time.

Consider re-conducting market research later in the product development and uptake process
by using this data set as a „benchmark‟. This would generate the kind of „passive intelligence‟
recommended by Bradley, (2005).

Any future research should utilise more robust and professionally manufactured prototypes to
remove any confusion between potential consumers‟ reactions to the prototype instead of the
product concept.

A closing comment…

In a recent episode of „Dragon‟s Den‟, an inventor of a cable tie device which was non re-
cyclable, caused quite a stir amongst the dragons and this suggests that such utilitarian devices
are worth paying attention to as an investor.

The respondents in this market research survey were consistent in response, with a product that
offers a similar function together with an additional augmentation from its „green credentials‟. So
long as product congruence and use messages are clear; knowing who you are marketing to,
why and therefore saying what in terms of the product and the function of the augmentation,
these findings overall bode well for the product concept of the RE:tie in both „green‟ and
standard grocery market value.

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Appendices:

Market Research Questionnaire

Report references

Page 18
Junkk RE:tie Market Research Questionnaire

Opening pitch: We are students from the UW looking at improving green-design, focussing on an award winning and new
re-usable product – could you give us your opinion on a 30 second video about it please?
OR: Do you prefer to buy brands that are more enviro-friendly? May we take a few moments of your time to ask about this?

Record: Store: Location and date


Play video:
Circle approx. age range of respondent: Under 25 26 – 35 36 – 45 46 and over

Circle gender of respondent: male female

After showing video:

1. Have you seen anything like this RE:tie product before? ……………………………………………………….........

2. What did you think of that „RE:tie‟ product? ...……………………………………….………………….………………


(You may need to explain that it reduces waste by giving a new use to something throw-away – a tamper proof seal)

3. Would you use the cable tie as shown do you think?............................................................................................

4. What do you think you might use it for? a……………………………… b………….…………………………

c…………………………………. d………………………… (may need to prompt: in the home/garden/hobbies)

5. Would you recommend this product to anyone you know who could use it? ………………………………………….

6. What does a product like this „say to the consumer‟ about the product e.g. milk which is using it?....................…

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

7. If there were two bottles of milk on the shelf in front of you, would you choose the carton of milk with this product over
one that did not have this product on it, do you think?

8. Why/why not?.....................................................................................................................................................

9. How much would you be prepared to pay on a carton of milk, to have that re-usable product do you

think? ………………………………………………………….........................................................................................

10. Who buys most of the groceries in your household? ………………………………………………….....................

11. Are there any particular groceries that you buy because they are re-usable or enviro-friendly?

Circle: yes no can you give any examples?……………………………………………………...

12. Is there anyone in your family who struggles with opening these tamper proof seals – e.g. elderly or disabled?

(prompt: it may help to explain that this tie removes the need for the plastic disc you have to peel off)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

13. What advice would you give to the small business who is developing this as a product for the global green market?

..........………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…

14. Also record any other questions or salient comments that respondents note:

..........………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……
(if respondents are hesitant at any time reassure that you are looking for ‘honest’ or ‘candid’ feedback or perhaps explain that
the university ‘helps’ local small businesses by undertaking independent market research on their behalf, so all feedback is
really valuable)! Any probs, give them my name and 01905 54222
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