With COVID-19 shutting down “business as usual,” you may be wondering how to conduct market research safely and effectively. The good news is that your business can still get rich insights from customers even during a global pandemic; however, the method has to change. In-person focus groups and in-depth interviews aren’t an option right now, so marketers need to be flexible.  Virtual interviews and focus groups are a great way to get consumer insights without endangering you and others to the virus.

An online focus group is a lot like an in-person focus group conducted entirely through the internet. Online focus groups are completed through a platform where participants use their webcam and microphone to interact with the group. There are many platforms to choose from, though Fuel Cycle offers a waiting room and hidden moderator features, which gives us an edge against the competition.

Virtual in-depth interviews allow researchers to collect real data from a smaller, carefully selected group of participants online. In-depth interviews utilize an open-ended, discovery-oriented data collection method where the researcher can more deeply explore a respondent’s feedback and thought processes. There are several benefits to using virtual interviews and focus groups which we’ll highlight below.

1. Save $$$

The fact of the matter is, market research is expensive. It costs money to find participants, secure a research space, offer financial incentives, pay for parking, buy snacks, and more. Additionally, travel accommodations, travel time, and travel delays can make in-person research even more stressful for participants and researchers.

To keep costs down, virtual interviews and focus groups are the way to go. When you take your research digital, you completely eliminate the overhead costs associated with in-person market research

2. Convenience

Though online interviews and focus groups require a bit more focus and attention than in-person interviews, they are definitely worth the extra effort. By eliminating travel and geographical restrictions, researchers can be more stringent about who is in their study; they can really drill down and find the ideal consumers without limits. Moreover, participants are more willing to join a research study when they don’t have to get up early, get dressed, and fight traffic to get to a focus group session.

3. Opportunities

Lastly, virtual interviews and focus groups offer additional capabilities that are not always possible with in-person research. Virtual waiting rooms, screen sharing, whiteboarding, and even a private backroom for observers and stakeholders, make online research a game-changer. Business leaders can discreetly watch customers interact with their products while remaining undetected.

Enhance your digital research toolkit

With tools like FC Live from Fuel Cycle, it’s possible to take your online market research to new heights. As the world becomes increasingly digital, Fuel Cycle invests in world-class digital research solutions so that brands across the globe can get the data they need when they need it.

Need help conducting market research virtually? Check out our resources on best practices while conducting virtual in-depth interviews and focus groups.