May 5, 2021

COVID-19 is having a lasting, worldwide impact on consumer preferences and behaviors, according to a new report from KPMG International, “Responding to consumer trends in the new reality.” The report tracks the opinions of 75,000 consumers in 12 markets to examine the changes and how businesses need to think and act differently in response to these trends.

Since May 2020, research has seen four key trends that have impacted consumers and have ultimately changed their purchasing patterns and consumption. Consumers expect these changes to last longer than 12 months.

The trends across the globe are

  • economic impact,
  • erosion of trust,
  • rise of digital and
  • Home is the new hub.

These themes highlight the pressures consumers are under, their feelings towards brands, and their changing behaviors in the new reality. Retailers will need to better understand the needs of the customer groups — via segmentation driven by AI and psychometrics. Personalization not only of communications, but also of developed products, will be key to meeting the needs of the new consumer. Besides, consumers are gravitating toward brands that are empathetic and supportive of their values. Consumer Commerce is the future. Bricks and mortar will remain an important channel although we know channel agnostic and customer centric is key and the competition will be much broader than today’s retail.”

Nearly half, 45 percent, of respondents do not feel a strong financial impact, which could mean opportunities for businesses that are able to meet the new consumer’s expectations. All consumers predict they will spend less in the next 6-12 months and all are prioritizing savings. Perhaps not surprisingly, ‘value for money’ is ranked as the key purchase driver.

Key trends include:

  • Two in five (43 percent) of consumers are worried about their financial security in 2021
  • More than one-third (36 percent), are prioritizing savings over spending
  • 37 percent are working from home more, and 60 percent plan to do so more in the future
  • One in five (20 percent) want to stay at home as much as possible
  • Confidence in public transportation has declined 37 percent compared to before COVID-19
  • Net spend is expected to be 21 percent less over the next 6-12 months, versus pre-COVID-19
  • Close to half (45 percent) predict digital channels will be their main connection to brands
  • “Value for money” is ranked by 63 percent as the top purchase criteria

Consumer brand relationships are likely to permanently change as a result of COVID-19 and businesses need to reexamine how they build trust with their customers in this new reality. The brands that can demonstrate and articulate their value and adapt to rapidly changing customer demands as they spend more time at home and rely more on digital, are the ones that will be most successful.


According to the Survey, 62.3% of respondents confirmed that their overall spending had decreased; 19.4% were of the opinion that the lockdown had not made much difference and 13.3% that their spending had increased.

  1. Groceries, Disinfectants and Sanitizers on the Rise

Although consumers may have been spending less or very little on non-essential items they used this amount to stock up on other items instead. These include groceries such as packaged food, fresh food, beverages (58.7%) – not surprising given that the lockdown led people to throng supermarkets and stores. Groceries most stocked upon on include daily essentials such as bread, flour, pulses, rice and sugar (53.4%), fruit and vegetables (44.7%), snacks (36.3%), meat/poultry (33.4%), and frozen foods (21.7%). Other items that consumers have been spending more on include personal protection products, such as sanitizers, gloves and masks (54.5%).

  1. Dining Out On the Dive

Respondents stated that they are spending less on clothes (74.2%), fuel (75.3%), and recreational activities (69.3%). A category that has also been in the red is the food business (restaurants, eating out/ordering and takeaways), as 79% said that they are ordering in and dining out less due to the lockdown. Prior to the lockdown, 59.6% ordered food at least once a week or less from a restaurant, 25.3% ordered once or twice a week, 9.7% twice or thrice a week and more than 5% four or more times a week.

  1. Online Shopping and Banking Booming?

Surprisingly, while the rest of the world saw a spike in online shopping during the lockdown (groceries mainly), in Pakistan 53.4% still purchased groceries from physical stores. Only 10.6% used an online channel to buy an item for the first time although 18.7% said they are ordering more online now; 16.8% said they regularly used e-commerce channels for their purchases even before the lockdown. Nearly 12% said they were willing to try online shopping for the first time but had not done it yet. (7.5% said they did not have the option to shop online in their respective cities or areas).

While the lockdown has seen a surge in internet banking globally, in Pakistan only 5.9% downloaded banking apps or used online banking services for the first time during the lockdown; 22.5% said they are not using online banking channels while 4.7% said they would like to try in the near future.

  1. Brand Loyalty Compromised?

The last two months have seen a shift in consumer priority, with the focus moving towards availability, due to shortages as a result of panic buying, stores and supermarkets running out of stock (33.8% said that they have been unable to source their preferred brands). This demand and supply gap has led to consumers trying alternate brands (21%) while 8.8% purposely opted to buy cheaper brands in order to economise. Consumers who stayed loyal to their brands constituted 31.3% and 38.6% said they were not brand loyal.

Business exists for customers and the way you deal and respond to your customer will determine how productive is your business as well as its ultimate impact on customer retention. Ace Research proposes that the information you acquire from your customers, help you grow your business. The research method you will opt will depend upon the type of your business and the kind of information you need to acquire. And it can be done internally by assigning a task to some individuals or you may hire a consultant to conduct perhaps more transparent research for your organization.

  1. Are Brands Communicating Effectively?

When asked if brands have created advertising/communication messages relevant to Covid-19, 35.8% stated yes; when asked to name these brands, the ones mentioned most frequently included soap and telecoms: Lifebuoy (12%), Dettol (4%), Safeguard (3%), Jazz (1%), Telenor (1%) and Ufone (1%). “Brands have molded their ads and product line-up according to the onset of Covid-19; telecoms have made recharging balances much easier.

The top three brands mentioned included Lifebuoy (5%), Dettol (2%), and Safeguard (1%). As to whether any brands stood out because of a CSR initiative, 24% named a brand – Jazz (3%) followed by Asim Jofa, EBM, Telenor, Engro and Unilever (1 to 2%). One respondent remarked “I read that many brands are actually donating money to the Prime Minister’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash program, which is good to see but more efforts need to be made by other brands as well.”

Why Retail Audit is Crucial for FMCG’s Success?

March 17, 2021

Retail auditors are those professionals that basically asses the stock at the retail outlets, in relation to company records and set requirements. They analyze everything about the company’s stock in a retail outlet. They provide information about the brand’s sales volume, the trending sales techniques, in store display effectiveness and overall stock management. Thus, retail auditors are important for any company but more so for FMCG companies which depend highly on retail stores for their product sales.

What key functionalities retail auditors perform:

  • Assessment of the various stocks in all the retail stores allocated to them.
  • Matching the stocks with the company’s records.
  • Checking for any damage or wrong stock.
  • Realizing any issue with a particular stock.
  • Clearance of stock in a timely manner.
  • Documenting and proper reporting.
  • Informing and reporting to the higher authorities

Who shall perform this activity for FMCGs?

As we can see, these professionals need to be very efficient and good at their work. Hence, conducting interviews and hiring these professionals is a tedious task for any company. So what can companies do? They can seek services of a market Research companies that conduct interviews and takes care of the entire hiring process.

All they need to do is contact such  companies and share their requirements. These research companies will carry out the retail auditing on their behalf. This is very effective and saves the company huge costs and the tedious process. Few companies like Ace Research not only perform retail audits for you but also facilitates your management with action oriented reports and in-depth analysis of whole activity thus, helping the company to perform retail audit’s hassle-free.

Types of information that brand retail auditors gather include:

  • Sales volume
  • Stock levels (shelf and back stock)
  • Descriptions of in-store displays and promotional materials
  • Competitor activity
  • Planogram compliance (shelf location, number of facings present, number of SKUs present, missing/inaccurate shelf tags)
  • Pricing
  • In-store location of products
  • Product damage

Importance of Retail Audit

retail audit

The benefits of conducting retail audits are twofold. On the one hand, they serve as a tool for suppliers to ensure that retailers are complying with pre-established agreements on product placement, pricing, and promotion. On the other hand, they allow brands to accurately measure their success in the retail environment.

Types of Retail Audits

With so much variance in the information that can be recorded in a retail audit, it makes sense to segment audits by data type. Different audit forms should be used to reflect the respective data being collected at a given store visit. Examples of the types of retail audits that a supplier might employ are listed below.

Retail Market

In some cases, brands might simply want to know the placement, where their products are being stocked (or could potentially be stocked in the future). Retail auditors might document the following:

  • Consumer sentiment towards the brand and its competitors
  • Store appearance and location.
  • Qualitative and quantitative information about other brands present in the store.

Merchandising Report

This type of store audit is primarily concerned with the brand’s performance. Retail auditors use merchandising reports to analyze:

  • Inventory levels
  • Stock outs
  • Condition of products
  • Amount of available shelf space
  • Units ordered
  • Retail price
  • General shelf appearance

Promotional Report

If a brand is holding a sale or other type of special promotion, it is important to track its success so as to know, how it’s performing in the short-term and how to improve in the future.

  • The type of promotion being used (tasting, demo, price reduction, etc.)
  • The duration of the promotion
  • The featured products
  • In-store position
  • Sales results
  • General effectiveness of the promotion.

Competitor Survey

One audit that brands shouldn’t overlook is the competitor survey, which can reveal invaluable insight into how your brand stacks up against others in its category.

  • Who your direct and indirect competitors are in the store
  • Competitors’ pricing strategies
  • How many facings competitors have on the shelf. Is your brand being significantly overshadowed?
  • Where competitors’ products are located in the store.
  • Any promotions competitors are running

Steps in the Audit Process

After realizing the inherent value of retail audits, how can your company guarantee that it’s executing them properly? Consider the following procedure to help your team make the most of every store visit.

  1. Articulate your goals

Determine the main objectives of your retail audit. Are you primarily concerned with monitoring competitor activity? Or do you care about how quickly your products are moving off the shelf?

  1. Design audit criteria

Select the exact questions you will be asking in the audit and the acceptable answer types. Will you use “yes/no” questions, have retail auditor’s write-in responses, or use a scale such as 1-5?

  1. Schedule Appointments

Once you know what you’re trying to gain from the retail audit, it’s time to make it happen. Aim for consistency in terms of who you send to which accounts. This way, individual retail auditors can become extremely knowledgeable about their stores and build a rapport with store management. Recognize that some retailers might want to be notified before retail auditors will be visiting their store. Also be mindful to schedule retail auditors for an appropriate number of audits as determined by their assigned territory.

  1. Gather data and photos

Make sure auditors collect data that directly corresponds to the goals and criteria you’ve laid out. Including photos in audits is a great way to depict exactly what’s happening in a store at any given time, and promotes accountability and compliance.

  1. Evaluate results.

Once audits are completed, organize your data in an easy editable format. Numerical values can be depicted graphically. Check to see how the results you’ve achieved stack up against your pre-determined KPIs.

  1. Implement changes.

After analyzing the findings, execute on what needs to be done in the short term. For example, you discover that a particular SKU is performing significantly worse than others, across several locations and you decide to pull it from shelves immediately.

  1. Repeat the process.

After conducting several retail audits, you’ll be able to make adjustments to your retail audit process as needed to tailor it to your company’s unique needs. Regularly conducting audits will allow your business to be as agile and rapidly adjust to the ever changing retail landscape.

Advantages of Retail Audit Software

Historically, businesses have used pen and paper for retail auditing, which presents a number of avoidable challenges, such as:

  • Need to transcribe findings into a digital format after the fact
  • Risk of losing or damaging paper
  • Higher risk of human errors
  • Delayed transmission of data from the field to decision-makers

To combat these issues, companies can make use of technology.

Ace Research online dashboard offers ONE-STOP RESEARCH PLATFORM supported by data collection team all across country. Our dashboard is equipped to support your business in the following ways.

  1. Ability to easily collect data through digital forms.

You’ll want to be able to customize your survey questions to accommodate specific product families or retailers. Moreover, you’ll want customization of the allowed answer types. Ideally, some questions could be marked as “mandatory” so that brand retail auditors cannot submit the audit without filling in a response for those questions.

  1. Synchronization of data to brand managers in real-time.

The primary reason for using a technological solution as opposed to paper is so that managers can receive data from the audits immediately. The faster data is available for analysis, the faster changes can be implemented. To automate your process further, we offer a solution that readily transforms data into graphs and charts for easy visualization.

  1. Image capturing capabilities

Photos illustrate what words alone cannot express. They’re especially useful for revealing details about competitor packaging, shelf appearance, store tidiness, and promotional displays. Pictures are also great for depicting “before” and “after” scenarios.

  1. Barcode scanning

To save time during auditing, brand retail auditors can scan the UPC of a particular product using a smartphone camera, which in doing so will populate their screen with more detailed information about the product.

  1. Time stamping and/or geo-tagging

For organizational purposes, it’s helpful to know the precise location and time that an audit took place.

  1. Electronic signature capture

Getting a signature from a store manager lets your company know that the audit has been done.

A retail audit can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your overall retail execution strategy. However, the insights gained from retail audits are only as strong as the quality of the audits themselves. Moving forward, Ace Research helps you in planning how your business can augment its retail audit process by streamlining data collection and its analysis. Supports you in evaluating your findings to make the auditing process worthwhile and enable your company to make agile, informed decisions.

Customer Loyalty: Building solid customer relationships

March 8, 2021

A good marketing strategy generates revenues from both new and existing customers. New customers provide the necessary injection of fresh blood for a healthy, growing company. However, it is the existing customers that provide a solid foundation.

Nearly all businesses have the opportunity for a continuing relationship with their customers and, over the years, the revenue generated becomes a “customer lifetime value (CLV)”.

The lifetime value of a customer depends very much on what is being sold. People do not move house often and so an estate agent could believe that the lifetime value of customers is low. However, the word-of-mouth associated with the move could be significant. In a completely different line of business, a baker sells a loaf for very little but repeated sales over 20 years could run to a cumulative value of many thousands of dollars from a single customer.

A focus on CLV is vital in order to increase satisfaction and instill loyalty. Good relationships developed with sales and technical teams are the strongest drivers of customer loyalty in business-to-business markets.

Lifetime value

Customers can be divided into three groups:

  1. Those who stay loyal and are unlikely to shop anywhere else
  2. Those who have moved on and will never come back
  3. And those who regularly shop around and may well return in the future.

Our concern is particularly to keep the loyal customers loyal and to stop other customers defecting.

How Ace Research help you in assessing your Customer Loyalty?

Loyalty can be assessed by asking people how likely they are to recommend a company, using a scale from 0 to 10. It has been determined that there is a strong correlation between people giving a score of 9 or 10 out of 10 on this scale and their likelihood of becoming loyal customers. It is quite exceptional to have more than 30-40% of customers give a score of 9 or 10.

The problem for most companies is not the number of customers that give a low score of 6 or below but those who simply believe the company is satisfactory, scoring 7 or 8 out of 10. The group giving a “middling” score often makes up the bulk of the customer base. It is this group who award mediocre scores that are of greatest concern as their heads could easily be turned if some other supplier arrives on the scene with what seems like an attractive offer.

Ace Research offers specialies consumer surveys and research activities to assess the level of customer loyalty, across all industries.

How to build customer lifetime value (CLV)

Loyalty is hard earned. It does not come from a bunch of flowers or a nice smile, though this can help. It is earned in small servings, over time, and can so easily be lost by one false move.

True loyalty often arises when a company does something extra ordinary to get a customer out of trouble. There will be times when a customer requires an urgent delivery or a machine stops working and a supplier who solves the problem will be remembered.

Loyalty – How To Win Devotion from Your Customers

Everybody is talking about loyalty nowadays. It is not that customer satisfaction has fallen by the wayside; rather businesses recognize that, a satisfied customer isn’t necessarily a loyal one.

Why Customer Loyalty Is So Important

Let’s think about that for a minute. Why may a satisfied customer not be loyal?  There could be a number of reasons.  Firstly they may not be that satisfied.  Ace research measure satisfaction on scales and, on a scale from 1 to 10, most companies achieve a score of around 8.  This is right in the middle of what we call a “corridor of average satisfaction” which spans from 7 to 9.  In other words, 8 out of 10 might sound good, but it is only OK.  If you want your customers to stay loyal, you have to have scores of 9 out of 10 on the things that really matter.

The Zones of Customer Satisfaction:

Customer loyalty

We should also recognize that for some customers, it is not that difficult to switch suppliers.  A tempting offer from a competitor could easily turn the head of a non-committed customer. There may of course be shortfalls in your own supply that encourage people to seek another supplier.

How to inculcate Customer Loyalty?

Past history of our research assessment indicates that, customers defect for two primary reasons: their need for a product or service has ceased, or the product/service they are buying has failed to satisfy their needs in some way. And, when we say that the offering has failed in some way, it means that they were let down or their expectations were not met.  Being simply OK is good, but not good enough in this highly competitive world, when others are prepared to do anything to win and keep the business.

It is important to emphasize that one of the most important factors that builds loyalty is the high quality of the product and service that is being offered.  There is absolutely no substitute for this.  Any compromise on quality carries a huge risk.

Examples of Causal Models of Drivers and Customer Loyalty

Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is driven by small things, the softer things that are harder to measure, and the little things which in isolation seem inconsequential.

Three important steps to achieving devotion from your customers

In conclusion, there are three steps to ensure loyalty from our customers:

Step 1 – Make Sure That the Basics Are Right

It is no good thinking that you can build customer loyalty if there are any failings at all in the basics of your offer.  The quality of your product and service in particular has to be unquestioned.  Deliveries must be on time, in full, every time.  The price of your offer must be good value but it is not necessary that it is the cheapest.  Indeed, we know that low prices do not engender loyalty because in general low prices mean low service and this in turn means low loyalty.

Step 2 – Work on the Softer Issues

Loyalty is based on the strength of the relationships that are built up with the sales and service teams.  It is the result of many little things that often go beyond the expectations of the customer.  It is the accumulation of these little things that create trust that will not be jeopardized by a move to a new supplier. Recognize that from time to time things will go wrong and when they do, fix them quickly and where possible, give something extra to make up for the failing.

Step 3 – Measure and Control

Finally, measure everything.  Measure customer churn, measure complaints, measure customer satisfaction, measure the frequency of introducing new suppliers, and measure the likelihood of recommending.  Through measurement will come an understanding of the degree of loyalty of your customers and the tools to ensure that it is driven to the highest possible levels.

Ace Research with years of experience and research insight has catered many projects involving customer retention and loyalty track. Consumer surveys, mystery shopping’s, churn rate assessment, etc. to name few are the research models we employ to identify, measure and propose areas for enhancing customer lifetime value.

How to Make Money as Field Surveyor?

February 12, 2021

Market research allows a company to discover the target market and get feedback from consumers about their interest in the product or service. Some are face to face interactions and may demand traveling (require car or motorbike) whilst others can be held remotely as long as you have a reliable internet connection, laptop and mobile.

Market research involves the gathering and analyzing information of consumers. This helps businesses understand what products/services people want, who will buy them, and for what price.

If you think that you’d enjoy talking to strangers, and getting their opinions about various products and services, read our simple getting on board FAQs.







Market Research Activities involve numerous assignments such as mystery shopping, retail audits, field surveys, focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, consumer surveys etc. Collectively, we recognize them as Field Surveys or on-ground research operations.


You might be approaching people in the street, door-to-door, offices, retail shops, public places or on the phone. Once employed, you’ll typically receive a few days’ training before the required activity. You may also be accompanied by an expert on your first task.

If you’re going door to door asking questions, you’ll probably be given a list of streets to visit, each with a set quota of interviews to conduct. Alternatively you may have a pre-selected list of addresses to contact. These may contain the name of a specific person you need to speak to.

Your activity might involve observing a retail outlet for product or service assessment. Observation might require you not to reveal your identity which often is the case in mystery shopping. (You will be required to visit target site and observe, as per the checklist provided but you will remain anonymous and pretend to be regular customer or services seeker.

Similarly, you might be tasked to visit public places to conduct surveys or may be retail offices to observe customer services and product.

  • Be polite and approachable. Always explain what the research is about and what it’ll be used for.
  • Make sure to record your answers. Take down the answers as you receive them. Then once the results are collated, they’re passed back to the organization you’re working for.
  • Researches are usually paid after the completion of assignment. Some companies will also reimburse travel expenses and may offer bonuses to those who meet their targets.
  • Read more about different market research assignments and tasks


There are two different types of market research:


Quantitative research is based on the quantities or numerical statistics collected by surveys and questionnaires. Mostly the questions are multiple choice.

  • Face to Face Interviews: You’ll be asked to attend a short meeting to answer a series of questions about a product or service. Surveys are normally conducted face to face.
  • Online Surveys: You’ll answer a series of questions about a product, brand or service through a website or by phone. These can be of many different variations. Some may want to put some visuals in front of you for feedback and opinions; others may want you to explore a website with a specific task in mind.  In some cases, you’ll need to fit a certain ‘demographic’ to take part in a particular test. This means that you’ll need to be a particular age, sex, or live in a certain place. All you need to do is take a few moments to fill in the qualifier test.
  • Consumer Researches and Surveys: Market researches are basically executed to analyze consumer needs and preferences. Also, needs of end user is important; this can be customer, businesses, capacity building of target audience – as it happens in assessments of surveys and long term community uplift projects. In all of this, surveyors play a role on forefront in for data collection, recording and sharing it in the required format, based on this data reports are made and ultimately decisions too. 


Qualitative research is based on more in-depth questions, determining people’s actions and thoughts by researching their attitudes and opinions. This type of research often takes place in groups or face to face. They may discuss a certain topic or collection of topics in a session. Participant’s opinions and views will be analyzed and recorded as it is.

  • IDI (In-depth Interviews): One to One interaction will take place and questions related to product or services are asked. Also, interviews are conduced online as well. 
  • Focus group discussion: You’ll be asked to discuss your opinions about a brand, product or service in a small group of people.


This is a job that involves interacting with different people of different industries and being interested in what they have to say.

Good Field Surveyor use positive, action-focused language, they also make it easy for participants to complete their survey. You need to be able to hold their interest for the whole survey and keep the results honest. This means not influencing the answers in anyway. You’ll also need to be able to deal with rejection from some people.

Most of all, it’s important to enjoy what you do and have fun being out and about. It tends to be a popular job for younger people, those with some relevant employment experience tending to have a better chance of securing work. Otherwise, with some training and experience you can secure paid research assignment/tasks.

  • Flexible Hours

There is no upper age limit to be a Field Surveyor. However it can be a flexible option for those with other commitments. Also, in most of the market research assignments you are not bound to commit yourself 9-5 but you can perform your task as per your convenience. When you get the required training, time duration for the task will be communicated and then you can manage the task as per your convenience.


The Ace Research is the professional and experienced employer for the Market Research sector and you’ll find the whole activity managed with utmost flexibility and convenience of researcher/surveyor in mind.

The Ace Research also publishes its blog for detailed insights on our research activities and also we post our vacancies across social media and informal job portals.


Market Research

In all of the varying market research activities mentioned above, on average a field surveyor earns PKR 20 – 50k a month. With experience and dedication earning five digits a month from survey activities is doable. There can be 3 categories of field surveyor;

1. Telephonic Interviews and Online Assessment

The joy of having a telephone/online-centric job is that you can be based anywhere. So jobs are available at home or at a call center.

2. Door-to-Door Surveys

Doing field research is certainly more profitable, particularly in big towns. Outside main towns, the rate is different. Your travel cost is sponsored in most of our research activities, in some cases; an expense allowance for each assignment is also awarded.

3. Retail Assessments/ Branch Visits

Such activities involve sometimes a field surveyor to have distinct characteristics such as; to be well groomed, command over certain language, to belong to a specific location/region and often some prior experience (can be acquired with training and pilot visits). Often it is required to have motorbike or car for carrying out an assessment.


If you want to improve your earnings as a Field Surveyor, think about taking some training, which may also open the way to more interesting roles.

  • Studying towards qualification

Various institutes offer various online and on campus certification in market research, which gives a comprehensive grounding in the basic principles and practices of effective market and social research. From there you can work towards Advanced Certificates, Diplomas and even Masters Degrees which will obviously put you in a completely different league and earnings bracket.

Besides having desirable certification or diploma – market research companies also offer short trainings free of cost to interested individuals.


Register yourself with Ace Research if you believe you are consistent, hardworking, a good listener and also dedicated to meeting activity timelines. Ace Research provides complete training to all the shortlisted candidates who will pass our short interview and you could get a market research job down your street (literally) right now.