Conduct a store visit market research: when, where and how?

#Christine Tsui Fashion Community Group Discussion#

How to conduct a market research on physical fashion stores?


Time: 8pm to 10pm

Host by Amin-Shenzhen-Handbag designer

Amin is a handbag designer with five years working experience in fashion industry, four years of which in online fashion brands.
The following discussions are from the participants. They do not represent any views from Christine Tsui.


Pic from internet 



Store visit is an useful market research method to know about the business in a physical store as well as a technique to figure out consumer behavior.



1. Preparation before market research

2. How to decide when and where to conduct market research?

3. What are the focuses in fashion store visit?

4. Conclusion

PART ONE Preparation before market research 

a. Research Objectives

1. Know about the operation situation of stores, including but not limited to sales performance, shopping atmosphere, and service experience.2. Know about competitors; Figure out the operation situation of competitors; Know about the products of competitors (categories, sewing techniques, patterns, etc.).

3. Figure out consumer preferences and buying power.

4. Verify the problems shown in the reports.

b. Research Team

Conducting a market research by store visit need both physical power and mental power. The focuses of this kind of market research vary from research teams. 

Macy’s group store visit (Pic from internet)


What kind of people would be involved in a market research team in terms of different research objectives? 

A market research team may consist of designers, pattern makers, merchandisers, sales and so on. Sometimes, all of them are from different departments, while they are from the same department more often.

c. Research Objects

According to different market research objectives, the research objects are correspondingly different. Stores of brands as well as their competitors are usually chose as the research objects. Also, products in different styles can be the research objects.

PART TWO How to decide when and where to conduct market research?  

Store visit would be conducted at different time in terms of different research objectives. For example, at the beginning of the season, the sales performance is the main research object, while at the end of the season, the unsalable is the focus of market research.

Gucci in different location and time (Pic from internet)



Discussion shown as below


Tina- Xiamen-AGL
We always firstly talk with store managers to know about the peak time in stores, then come and observe stores at the peak time.
Ye Fangben-Nanchang-Shopowner
The best time to visit a street store and a store in shopping mall are different. The peak time are from 10:00 am to 11:30 am, from 4 pm to 06:30 pm, and from 7: 30 pm to 9: 00 pm.Amin- Shenzhen-AGL 
In working days especially at afternoon, there are less consumers in stores than usual. Thus visiting stores during these period is mainly for products researchWhen visiting stores at evenings or weekend, the research team will pay more attention to the sales performance.

Tina- Xiamen-AGL

Market research on store sales performance is best conducted in weekend. Because sales performance in weekend reflects on the real consumption power.



(Pic from internet)

Sales performance in stores of the same brand but located at different business circles may be different. For example, there would be a number of consumers walking into stores in mid-range department stores while there are less consumers in stores located at top grade shopping malls. To gain a comprehensive market research result, the research team should visit and observe stores located at different areas.

PART THREE What are the focuses in fashion store visit? 

1. Store location

2. Store area

3. Store construction style

4. Customer service

5. Amount of merchandises

6. Visual merchandising

7. The proportion of new arrivals

8. The proportion of seasonal products

9. The proportion of discounted products

10. Consumer traffic

11. The dress up of consumers

12. Sales turnover


Store visit is an important and necessary market research method to know the consumer as well as business situation in fashion industry. In terms of different departments, research focuses vary from store area, store location, visual merchandising, category merchandising, customer service, promotion and so on. Moreover, results from store visit market research conducted at different time would reflect various problem.


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