Updated: Jan 3
Written by: Evan Goodfellow
We wanted to look at a real problem such as pollution in the fast fashion industry and see if MROC software could help tackle this problem. We wanted to see how a company might go about using the software as a solution to the problem.
Can Market Research Online Communities Tackle Pollution?
In a recent article, we wrote about Sarah Spellings article regarding the pollution created in the fashion industry and how it amounts to more than International travel and shipping put together. The fashion industry has seen increased change in the past 20 years beyond Internet shopping. In the past 10 years there has been a dramatic increase in production of clothing, creating more stylish trendy clothes in less time, using cheaper materials, and outsourcing production overseas. This new model, also known as fast fashion, has resulted in a lower production cost and a lower shelf price. With the increase in lower cost clothing, consumers buy more, and more often and hold onto the clothes for a shorter period of time. Gone are the days of our parents or grandparents, those born in the early 1900’s who owned less, but took more meticulous care of their garments and prided themselves on high quality garments. Combine this with the fact that less than 1% of these clothes are being recycled creates a real environmental concern. For this article we wanted to look at the current model and whether market research online communities could play a part in helping to improve the current situation.
A Shotgun Approach
The current model is one of speed. Zara has one of the fastest production lines in the world. They look at trends from the runway and then produce collections similar within days. Speed is the key. This focus on speed and low cost has kept retailers from worrying about hitting the market on every design. Create a lot, and for a low cost. Sure some will sell and others won’t but overall more sell than those that don’t. With the current model the race for production will not allow for traditional means of market research. Market research, using traditional focus groups is too costly and takes to long to conduct and analyze the results.
Research Needs to Keep Up
Market research online communities could change this aspect of the current model. You could recruit a sample group for specific demographics that you are trying to reach. First recruit customers from your store, and then segment them into age groups, and regions. Then send them samples of trends that the company is considering producing. You can set these online discussions up so that the respondents do not see other community members responses so the response goes only to the moderator. Or you can set the discussion up so that they need to respond first before they can see other community members responses so as not to influence their opinion. A third option is to set it up so that they can see straight away the responses of the community and then respond. If you set it up so that they can see other members responses then you can get a collaborative approach to the discussions.
Branded Community to Implement Change
Another way to increase profitability is by posing problems your company is facing and have the community attempt to solve it. In this case pollution is your problem. Many of the clothes that are bought are never recycled. Present this problem to the community and see the steps that they take, and then begin trying small implementations of this model in certain stores. This is a good way for a solution to gain attention as the respondents begin talking about how they are helping and can be a great way to solve your problem and grow your community.
While these are massive challenges that large fast fashion companies are facing, they will do good to get ahead of them and tackle them head on rather than ignoring them. This also gives consumers a confidence that their money is being spent at a socially conscious store which is gaining greater importance among Millennial shoppers. Branded communities may not be able to solve all of your problems but they can sure make a massive impact.
If you would like to find out more about how market research online communities can help you, please feel free to contact us.