Category: tech


5 Ways AI Can Change Retail As We Know It

  • May 9, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

Like other industries, retail is under pressure to adopt new technologies to stay competitive. AI is just one example of the tools that the retail industry can employ to sharpen customer service, refine the customer experience, better manage inventory, and most importantly, boost sales. Here are 5 ways that AI can shake up the retail industry. 

  1. Improving In-Store Customer Assistance

Many retailers have already invested in AI-driven technology that can assist their customers while shopping in person in their stores, as well as help their employees quickly answer questions on the sales floor. UK retailer John Lewis started using a shop floor app in 2017 that allows its employees to access information about products and stock availability on the spot. 

Some retailers are even already using robots to assist their in-store customers. Lowe’s has an autonomous robot called Lowebot that helps navigate customers through stores and is able to help customers find products in multiple languages. This also helps the company keep track of inventory in real-time. 

  1. Cashier–Free Stores

The increasing presence of robots in stores helps diminish time spent waiting in lines, reduces the number of employees needed, and dramatically saves money on the operational costs of retailers. 

The AI that is already in place at Amazon Go stores allows customers to pay for items just by walking out the door. Customers receive a receipt at a later date, with their Amazon accounts being charged for their purchases. These AI-driven supermarkets operate with only 6-10 employees per location. 

  1. Enabling Visual Product Search

AI has opened up the possibilities of visual search for retailers, allowing their customers to open up visual search by uploading images to find identical or similar products. In this application, AI closely analyzes an image, taking note of color, shape, and patterns to identify an item. 

Some retailers, like American Eagle, have taken this technology a step further, by offering customers recommendations on what to pair with the items that they have searched, like accessories or shoes.

  1. Eliminating Overstock and Out-of-Stocks

Excesses in supply or being caught with a short supply can affect the bottom line of retailers and costs companies about $1.1 trillion each year. Leftover stock is often marked down and leads to low sales turnover. An out-of-stock situation leads to lost sales and unhappy customers who can easily turn to a competitor to get the product they are looking for. 

AI can help retailers with restocking by identifying demand for a certain product by tracking metrics such as location, sales history, weather, and trends. This allows companies to present a build-up of underperforming products, stock what customers are likely to buy, reduce returns and ultimately save money. 

  1. Predicting and Influencing Customer Behavior

A new class of AI technology allows retailers to leverage insights into consumer behavior and reach their customers with an individual approach. These new platforms analyze consumer psychology and emotions to encourage purchases. 

This technology works by using an algorithm to analyze consumers’ emotional responses and behavioral patterns during previous shopping sessions and generates optimal pricing offers and incentives for each shopper. Using this behavioral data, brands can produce individual recommendations and increase revenue. 

How Can Market Research Help Brands Optimize AI?

In retail, tending to and anticipating consumers’ wants and needs is just as important as an airtight operational process. With so much competition in the retail landscape, the brands that prioritize their customer will come out on top. Investing in market research helps companies gain insights directly from their customers. 

Working with an established research firm like Eyes4Research can help brands gather the data they need to learn exactly what AI platforms will supercharge their bottom line and keep their customers coming back

Read more about the retail industry and AI on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.


How a TikTok Ban Will Affect Brands

  • April 18, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

As of now, it is still being determined whether the government will ban TikTok in the U.S. But what has become evident is that the popular app has staked out a place in pop culture and has taken the idea of social commerce and reshaped it in its own image. Products across a wide range of categories have gone viral on TikTok, and many have sold out, often under the hashtag, #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt. 

According to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, there are approximately 5 million U.S. businesses that use the app to reach consumers, and many of those brands have seen their sales rise significantly after establishing a presence on the app. 

Unlike Instagram, which prioritizes content on accounts that are already popular, TikTok is tailored to feed users content that is based on their interests, allowing brands to find their target audiences– for free. Just by having good content, brands have a chance of finding their audience, even without the resources for a dedicated marketing team. TikTok also has a more casual, less polished aesthetic overall, meaning that smaller brands have been using the lower production values to their advantage by appearing to be more authentic to their audiences. 

One of the biggest losses that could result from a ban on TikTok is the loss of the hard-won connection that brands have built with their audiences, especially retailers and e-commerce brands who rely on the platform for marketing and sales. Losing the highly-engaged consumer means losing the ability to drive sales. Many brands rely on TikTok for organic marketing and paid advertising as their primary revenue drivers so a ban would be especially harmful to smaller businesses. 

If the ban does take place, it could have a pronounced effect on the economy. A ban on TikTok would put many jobs at risk in the tech sector, which could lead to a slowdown in consumer spending. This would be on top of the other tech layoffs that have been underway over the last several months.  Experts are also concerned that a ban could reduce the amount of data available to companies, which they fear could lead to a lower level of economic activity. 

How Brands Can Sharpen Storytelling On Other Platforms

Even in the midst of TikTok dominance, there are other social media platforms with plenty of space available for strong and effective storytelling. Market research is essential in order for brands to learn what their customers want and what competition in the same space is doing. Experienced research agencies like Eyes4Research can help brands target and research their audiences and gather the necessary data to learn what resonates with their audiences. 

Having this data allows marketing teams to refine their messaging that is specific to each platform, which often attracts different audiences with different expectations of what makes for engaging content. 

Read more about the technology and branding on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.


Not Just Tesla: EVs Come Into Their Own in the U.S. Auto Market

  • March 30, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

Over the past few years, electric vehicles (EVs) have experienced a rise in popularity as costs of production have decreased, and the benefits of clean transportation have come into sharper view for consumers, thanks to more effective awareness campaigns. In addition, charging stations are becoming more available around the country, which has also contributed to a rise in EV adoption. 

But as EVs have become more popular, they have still lagged behind the sales of other cars– until 2022. Marking a decline for the first time in a decade, fewer cars were sold overall in the U.S. in 2022 compared to the year before. But out of the vehicles that consumers did buy last year, more of them were electric. EV sales jumped by more than two-thirds in 2022 compared to 2021, with EVs accounting for 5.8% of new car sales.  Helping to encourage consumers to go electric is the EV tax credit, which was provided in the Inflation Reduction Act. It is expected that the EV tax credit will continue to boost demand for electric cars over the next few years, setting the U.S. on pace to reach its goal of 50% of the EV market share by 2030, a significant increase from the current 6% position.

The Growing EV Market Share 

While EV pioneer Tesla was still the market leader in 2022, with 64% of the share, that number was down from 66% in the previous quarter. Newcomers like Rivian and Lucid did not account for much of the burst in EV sales last year, but both manufacturers have boosted their production and have their sights set on gaining ground in 2023 and having more of a presence in the market in the near future.  Newcomers as well as legacy automakers are trying to catch up to Tesla and capture their share of the growing demand for electric vehicles.  

New models of EVs are being introduced to the market, appealing to an increasing group of auto buyers who have been weary of electric vehicles up to this point. GM, Hyundai, and Ford are out front and leading the other automakers who are working their way deeper into the EV market with the production of the Chevy Bolt EV, Hyundai IQONIC 5, and the Mustang Mach-E

Can Production Keep Up With Demand? 

With consumer preferences shifting towards embracing electric vehicles, one of the crucial questions is whether manufacturers will be able to keep pace with the increasing demand. Production capabilities will be under the microscope as automakers race to secure the necessary battery materials to build EVs at scale. According to a recent article by Bloomberg, by the end of 2022, the production of fully electric vehicles accounted for 7% of North American car production, up from 4.7% the year earlier. 

But First, More Charging Stations

To meet the demands of more EVs hitting the road in the U.S., there will need to be at least about 13 million charging stations in place by 2030 to account for the growing electric vehicle infrastructure needs. For reference, there are currently only 56,256 charging locations around the country. 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has made $5B available for installing charging stations across the country, including along the interstates as well as in urban areas in convenient and safe locations. President Biden has pledged that the government will fund the installation of 500,000 chargers. 

Read more about EVs and the automotive industry on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from automobile owners. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our automobile owners panel and our other specialty panels here.


How the Internet of Things Will Impact Business in 2023

  • March 23, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

While the Internet of Things (IoT) is not a term that the average person is using every day, it is safe to say that the average person is indeed deeply engaged in the Internet of Things every day, as a result of the devices that they use daily. IoT has seen steady growth in applications for business, household use, workplaces, and as a way to connect people and municipal functions in cities. 

As a quick refresher, the Internet of Things is a term that describes the ecosystem of devices and technologies that are connected to the internet that is constantly collecting and transmitting data to be implemented and analyzed. Connected cars and smart appliances and smart cities are examples of IoT that we use every day and have become more commonplace in short order. With IoT continuing to grow, businesses need to keep these technologies on their radar and take advantage of how they can leverage IoT to fuel their own growth and refine their operations. 

What is Expected of IoT in 2023?

This year, IoT is forecast to continue its explosive expansion, with the number of installed IoT devices predicted to hit 30.9 billion by 2025. This expansion will be the result of increased investment on the development side, which translates to increased incentives for designing and producing IoT hardware and developing and applying the software aspect of IoT, which is also rapidly growing. When you consider the fact that IoT technologies are being adopted globally at a faster rate than the adoption of electricity and telephones, it helps to put its outstanding growth into more perspective. There are a few trends to keep an eye on this year that are the drivers of the growth of IoT. 

Healthcare Applications

The pandemic helped give rise to innovative solutions in healthcare, and that will be one of the trends that will drive the expansion of IoT in 2023. The development of personalized smart medical devices like smartwatches, fitness trackers, and smart scales are examples of how these innovations that made sense for business have become practical realities for patients and consumers. 

The primary benefit of these devices is that they are able to analyze and transmit highly accurate measurements of the body’s indicators, which allows treatments to be administered accordingly. It can also allow physicians to monitor the efficacy of their treatments or take notice of side effects and adjust their treatments, meaning that the patient will spend less time dealing with those side effects and get the best possible application of their course of treatment. 

Smart Cities

Smart cities have evolved recently to incorporate a variety of IoT data collection techniques. The goal of smart cities is to provide a more citizen-friendly, economically, and financially viable way to manage large metropolitan areas. This trend is expected to continue to help fuel IoT growth in 2023. These smart cities use connected sensors, lights, and meters to collect and analyze data, which is then used to improve infrastructure and utilities. 

Amsterdam is an interesting example of how smart cities work– as one of the first cities in Europe to fully embrace an integrated smart city model, its citizens are incentivized with energy storage units when they connect their homes to the smart grid. Having homes connected to the grid allows for the current and the voltage of the electricity grid to be constantly monitored, resulting in increased efficiency and reduced energy costs. 

Data Analysis

Data is an important weapon for any business to have in its arsenal. It gives a team the information they need to lay the groundwork for an effective strategy and execute it. Buying and selling IoT data is predicted to become even more essential to the development of IoT in 2023, as it continues to play a substantial part in the development of data collection and analytics. A good example of this is the application of IoT devices in the supply chain sector. The collection and transmission of data at intersection points along the chain allow companies to avoid crises and minimize their impact. 

Read more about the latest tech trends on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from tech consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.


6 Consumer Pet Trends Shaping the Veterinarian Industry in 2023

  • February 27, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

The veterinary industry is complex and among the most competitive globally. The number of consumers needing veterinarian services is growing and the landscape of animal health and welfare is ever-changing, with more pet owners looking for high-quality products to optimize the health of their pets.  Here are 6 trends that are helping to shape the future of veterinary services. 

Lockdown-Fueled Pet Ownership Rise

The loneliness and boredom that many people experienced during lockdown prompted a rush of people wanting a pet to pass the time with. While some of the households that brought pets home during this time have since rehoused those animals after going back to the office, there was still a rise in pet ownership during the COVID-19 pandemic that has carried over, post-pandemic.

Smart Pet Gadgets

Pet products powered by technology are everywhere and are making being a pet owner a little easier for consumers. Companies like Petcube, which has introduced a camera that attaches to a pet collar which allows the owner to view a live-streamed account of what is happening at home, including a pet’s everyday activities. Other ‘smart’ pet products include feeders that deliver food items straight into a bowl and trackers that help owners find pets who have wandered away from home. 

Pet-Friendly Housing

According to the American Veterinarian Medical Association, it is estimated that there are 21 million households with pets in the U.S. alone. If companion animals were thrown into the mix, that number would be closer to around 23 million. This has created a vast market for pet-friendly homes as people are looking for housing that allows them to live with their pets. A recent study by the American Pet Products Association revealed that there was an 8% increase in the sale of pet-related products in 2021, including pet food, toys, accessories, etc, which may be attributed to this trend of consumers choosing pet-friendly housing options for their homes and offices. 

The Rising Market for Exotic Pets

Not to be outdone by cats and dogs, there is also a growing market for pets that are a little out of the ordinary, like birds, snakes, and even spiders. Because these animals are more low-maintenance than cats and dogs, this category of pet has become more popular with higher-income consumers. The American Pet Products study mentioned above also found that 12.2% of American households currently care for one or more types of pet in addition to a dog or a cat, an increase from 10.8% over the last five years. This data points to a robust market for a wider variety of household pets. 

Adopt, Don’t Shop Campaigns

A recent study by the National Pet Alliance revealed that there are more than 10 million pets in shelters across the U.S. But even with that staggering number of pets waiting to be adopted, most people still buy pets instead of adopting them from shelters. To reverse this trend, there have been several awareness campaigns launched in recent years encouraging people to adopt their pets instead of shopping for them at pet stores. These campaigns have included adoption drives at local shelters, which often waive or drastically reduce adoption fees for the duration of the drive, as well as social media campaigns.

Wellness Isn’t Just for Humans

Wellness, specifically in the form of vitamins and probiotics, is becoming more common for pets, as their owners look for ways to keep their furry friends as healthy and happy as possible. The pet supplement industry is growing and veterinarians are helping owners learn more about how to be more intentional in the care of their pets, beyond yearly checkups and feeding them the right food. Even other health issues, like anxiety and stress, are on the radar of pet owners, as they seek advice from their veterinarians on products like CBD supplements. Relatively new on the market for pets, CBD supplements come in the form of oils and chews and can help alleviate anxiety and chronic pain in cats and dogs. 

Keeping up with consumer trends is crucial for every industry. Veterinarians have many challenges to navigate in their daily practices, but staying in the loop with what consumers want and need will allow veterinarians to give their clients higher-quality advice and build deeper and longer-lasting relationships with them. 

Read more about consumer trends on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from veterinarians and pet owners. Our online panels are made up of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty online panels here.


How Will ChatGPT Affect Customer Service?

  • February 23, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

It’s still early in the year, but we can probably already list conversational AI, especially ChatGPT, as one of the buzziest topics of 2023 so far. ChatGPT, a model of GPT (generative pre-trained transformer) has become one of the most popular apps, with 13 million people downloading the app in January 2023 alone. Among other capabilities, these generative models can emulate human conversations and even mimic the writings of long-dead historical figures. 

While there is worry about what ChatGPT will mean for students trying to cut corners on their coursework and how this technology will affect white-collar jobs, brands are also figuring out how this conversational AI can be put to work in their daily operations. More specifically, how can ChatGPT be applied to customer service operations, such as call centers, self-service, and other customer engagement needs? 

Adapting ChatGPT to Business Operations

In order for AI to be ready for adoption by businesses across the board, it will have to evolve past beyond just being able to ‘talk’ about business-related topics in general terms. To be effective, this technology needs to be fully versed in how businesses operate– what terms are used, the context in which to use them, and understand how those terms drive decisions within organizations. 

AI might be exciting to experiment with and is promising in the possibilities for its applications, but it isn’t an all-encompassing solution for customer service yet.  Because of the pre-training aspect of ChatGPT, it can only process and work with whatever basic information it has been programmed with. There isn’t much allowance for nuance, which is important where customer service and customer experience are concerned. The technology will be able to generate sentences and explanations that are general in nature and maybe even address the needs of some customers, but it may seem largely incomplete in comparison to an interaction with a human agent. 

AI technology can easily make conversation, but it is not able to deliver accurate information that is specific to a brand’s company when it is tasked with handling a more complex business interaction. And it will not be trained to deal with the specifics of any individual business, nor would it be able to answer questions related to products and services such as customer warranty claims. A situation where the wrong information is given to a customer or is received incorrectly could lead to a disastrous result, such as money being deposited into the wrong account, for instance. In a circumstance like that, customers will likely not be more forgiving because it was a chatbot that made the mistake and not a live agent. 

5 Benefits of Using AI and ChatGPT for Customer Service

  • Quick Response Time: Chatbots and smart virtual assistants are fast, intuitive, and can keep up with an ever-growing demand for customer service. They are able to answer questions instantly and adapt to different languages.
  • 24/7 Availability: Time is precious, and when a customer has a question or an issue they wanted to be resolved, they want it addressed immediately, regardless of the hour of the day (or night). Chatbots open more channels to serve the customer, and those channels come at a much lower cost. 
  • Personalization: By authenticating customers, the chatbot is able to give personalized data like available discounts, products and services already purchased, and give the status of outstanding orders. There is also a detailed history of issues that were handed by other agents on behalf of the customer, allowing for a more personalized experience. 
  • Monitor Data and Gather Customer Insights: Chatbots are good at monitoring data and getting insights into customer habits. Better yet, you can tell the bot what metrics to track, customer engagement, user satisfaction, and customer purchasing habits. This method is easier and allows companies to make quicker and more accurate decisions based on the data they collect. 
  • Multilingual Communication: Bots that are programmed to communicate in multiple languages are ideal for companies that operate in various markets. The chatbot can either ask the user which language they prefer to use or depending on the country from which the customer is corresponding, the communication will automatically be set in that region’s language. 

As the future of ChatGPT and chatbots continues to evolve, this technology will play an increasingly important role in in how companies interact with and serve their customers. But it will also be important for brands to be thoughtful in how they navigate the challenges and limitations of the use of chatbots in customer service. 

Read more about the latest tech trends on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from tech consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.


Travel Trends: How the Vacation Rental Industry is Changing

  • February 20, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

While it may have taken a while to gain its footing, the short-term rental industry has been growing rapidly, with an increasing number of travelers opting to stay in rented accommodations instead of a traditional hotel. With a wide range of options– from luxury beachside villas to basic apartments located in city centers, vacation rentals have become a popular option for many travelers. Travelers, especially those who travel often, state that vacation rentals are often less expensive than hotels, they offer more privacy and space than hotels, and the rentals allow travelers to ‘feel like a local’, by staying in residential areas. 

A Quick Overview of the Vacation Rental Industry

In recent years, the vacation rental industry has been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tourism industry. According to a study by ResearchAndMarkets, the global vacation rental market was valued at $169.9 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $220.4 billion by 2024, growing 6.3% over the forecast period.  

According to a report by McKinsey & Company, the vacation rental industry has benefited from the post-pandemic travel boom, as travelers look for more spacious accommodations and more flexibility overall. A different report by Phocuswright revealed that the vacation rental market was expected to continue to grow, as a result of the demand for more alternative forms of accommodations and the rise of online booking platforms. 

The pandemic has changed what people look for when they plan trips and there are a few notable trends to be aware of in order to understand more about what consumers want now when they travel. 

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Travel

Environmentally-aware travel has been part of the tourism landscape for a while, but sustainable travel has reached peak popularity post-COVID. According to a report by TripAdvisor, the trend towards sustainable travel has seen a significant increase in 2022, with 45% of travelers stating that they would choose sustainable or eco-friendly accommodation over a traditional hotel, with an eye toward reducing their carbon footprint while on vacation. Travelers are also increasingly interested in real estate where energy-efficient systems are installed, renewable resources are used, and waste reduction is encouraged is in high demand.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Vacation Rentals

As the world has started to learn to live with COVID, the experience of having lived through the pandemic has had a lasting effect on what travelers are looking for when they look for a place to stay while on vacation. 

  • Increased Demand for Private Accommodation While it is possible to stay in a hotel with some measure of social distancing, many travelers want the added comfort and peace of mind of staying in more secluded and ultra-private spaces. Many vacation rental companies have picked up on this trend and have responded by offering vacationers unique, luxury experiences to accommodate their desire for privacy. Spaces like treehouses, luxury villas with infinity pools, 360-degree view transparent cottages, and luxury wooden huts in forests. 
  • A Shift Towards More Domestic Travel The cancellation of air travel and the restrictions on travel to popular destinations led consumers to think more about destinations closer to home. Flights have long since resumed, but vacationing within the country is still a favored option, as many travelers have chosen to embrace old-fashioned American road trips
  • Focus on Health and Safety Living with COVID-19 doesn’t mean that travelers are not still aware of health and safety while they are on the road. Health and safety are top priorities for travelers. In the recent past, a cozy bed and a free breakfast in a hotel were all it took to win the hearts of travelers.  Now, people want to make sure their accommodations have strict cleaning and disinfection protocols to ensure their safety and ease their minds. 

Increased Demand for Unique, Local Experiences

Travelers are craving special and authentic local experiences as a substitute for stand hotel service. They want an immersive cultural experience, close to where they are staying. According to a report by Airbnb, 60% of travelers stated that they would choose an authentic local activity over a tourist-focused destination. 

Virtual Tours Before Booking

Finally, an up-and-coming trend is consumers being able to virtually tour potential accommodations before they make their reservations. As mentioned earlier, many people are more cautious about health and safety concerns and want to make sure that they are making informed decisions about where they are staying before they make their reservations. While not yet widespread, these 360-degree tours of the interiors and exteriors of rental properties will become more commonplace as more travelers continue to search for alternatives to hotels. 

Read more about the travel industry on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers in the travel audience. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.


Digital Destiny or Digital Bust? 

  • February 20, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

Among the many things that consumers will have to consider in the coming years, but is rarely thought of, is the nature of our money. Let’s face it, since the first coins were minted in Lydia more than 2,500 years ago, little about currency has changed. Paper currency was first introduced during the Song Dynasty in the eleventh century and then the concept slowly made its way to Western Europe by the end of the Middle Ages; yet things haven’t changed much in the last 700 years. Yes, credit cards, debit cards, payment apps, and online payment systems now dominate, making ours the first “cashless society,” yet we may be on the precipice of a major economic evolution from a cashless economy to a truly digital economy. If this change happens, it will have major implications for investors, companies, and consumers, and how different brands position themselves during this transition, particularly how it relates to their customers, will position them for success.

If you follow macroeconomics or consumer and financial trends, then you’ve probably heard about calls for digital currencies. Advocates of digital currencies come from governments, especially central banks, but also some private companies that believe digital currencies will be beneficial for their bottom line. Most people, though, aren’t aware of the potential transition to digital currencies, or even what they are. The biggest barrier to understanding digital currencies usually involves them being confused with electronic currencies. Simply put, today all national currencies are electronic currencies because transactions can be done electronically as well as with physical cash. In theory, digital currencies will also be transacted electronically, but the key difference is that they can only be done electronically. There will be no paper money in digital currencies. Digital currencies have some similarities with crypto currencies, and will utilize many of the same technologies, so it may help to view them through the crypto lens. It’s important to point out that the major difference is that most crypto currencies are decentralized and written with open source codes, while digital currencies will be controlled solely through the central banks that issue them. So now that we know what digital currencies are, let’s look at how they came to be and what impact they could have on future consumer trends.

From Crypto to Central Banks

There’s no doubt that digital currencies are the product of the Computer Age, but the route they took from fringe ideas to a reality has been somewhat circuitous. Computer scientist David Chaum is often thought of as the father of digital money for his efforts to create new, digital technologies. Chaum invented the “blind signature” technology in 1982, which would later play a role in the semi-anonymous nature of crypto currencies. Chaum then used his digital money ideas to start DigiCash, an electronic money corporation that used private and public key cryptography, which are crucial to bitcoin and most other crypto currencies today

Although DigiCash went bankrupt in 1998, it inspired people around the world to devise their own digital cash products. In 2009, the mysterious Satoshi Nakomoto introduced the world to bitcoin, a decentralized, open source digital currency whose transactions and amounts are recorded semi-anonymously on a public ledger known as a blockchain. Many were immediately skeptical of bitcoin – and remain so – especially government actors, but the reality is that the premier cryptocurrency has revolutionized money in the 21st century. Although politicians and central bank officials have bemoaned the lack of control they have over bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it hasn’t stopped them from using its technology to set-up their own digital currencies.

Once central banks began envisioning digital currencies – often referred to as central bank digital currency (CBDC) – it became clear that the idea is a long way from reality. Theoretically, a CBDC is a liability of the central bank that issues it and is denominated in the sovereign currency (US dollar, euro, yen, etc.), as is the case with physical banknotes and coins, but all transactions will be recorded and ostensibly tracked by the central bank that issues the “coins.” Although CBDCs will utilize some of the ideas behind cryptocurrency, because they will be controlled by a central bank they will likely not use a distributed ledger or a blockchain

It should be pointed out that much of the information we have about CBDCs are purely theoretically, as few countries have implemented them and those that have are in the early, experimental stages. With that said, China initiated a CBDC pilot program in 2021 that may give American businesses and consumers a taste of what’s to come.

In 2021, 261 million users took part in the Chinese CBDC trial who made more than $13.8 billion in transactions. The Chinese government has publicly stated that the pilot has been a success and revealed plans to expand it, which may mark the beginning of a trend, but it’s important to note that China’s early CBDC success has not been the case in every country. Ecuador’s central bank scrapped its CBDC plans, and central banks’ plans to develop even pilot programs have been moving at a glacial pace

The Pros and Cons of a Digital Dollar for Consumers and Businesses 

As American politicians, economists, businesses, and bankers debate the merits of a digital dollar, it’s important to objectively exam some of its possible drawbacks and benefits for consumers and businesses. Small businesses will see immediate benefits from a digital dollar, as deposits from point of sale transactions will be instant, or nearly instant, as opposed to the one to three day lag that is standard today.

The digital dollar’s quicker deposits and transaction times will be just one feature of what is believed to be a generally more convenient form of currency. Because transactions will be done through “digital wallets,” consumers won’t have to worry about carrying cash or the right credit card. Digital wallets will be stored on phones, so transactions will be as easy as scanning a QR code

The cons of a potential digital dollar include security, surveillance, and more costs. Computer experts have pointed out that because by nature CBDCs will be centralized, they are subject to “single point failures,” unlike decentralized crypto currencies. The centralized nature of the digital dollar has also worried privacy advocates, libertarians, and those generally fearful of government overreach, as they argue that the digital dollar could be used as surveillance tool because all transactions could be tracked. Additionally, experts believe that the technology required to make a digital dollar run smoothly will translate to higher costs, which will be passed off to the consumer in the form of higher fees. So, there are plenty of reasons for consumers and businesses to be excited, or not, about a digital dollar, but the important question remains: should we start preparing our digital wallets?

The Reality of the Digital Dollar

Whether or not the digital dollar becomes a reality will depend on many factors including government/political will and consumers’ and businesses’ acceptance of any scheme. The infrastructure and knowledge is there and government and non-government actors have begun experimental steps. In February 2022, the Boston Fed and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) revealed the results from two tests they conducted of a high-performance transaction processor that was able to handle 1.7 million transactions of a fictional CBDC per second. In November 2022, the New York Fed did its own digital currency experiment that used distributed ledger technology, although it’s still too early to know the results.

In addition to the technological knowledge, there does appear to be some political will to institute the digital dollar. President Biden and the Democrats have shown some support for the digital dollar, with Biden signing the executive order, “Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets,” which instructs government agencies to produce reports on a digital dollar. But an executive order is a long way from a law and with Congress routinely switching control between parties it doesn’t appear the digital dollar will become a reality anytime soon.

Although the US central bank probably won’t adopt the digital dollar in the near future, consumers and businesses can still benefit from its adoption in other countries. As China moves forward with its CBDC, more countries will follow, which may open investment opportunities and make international travel easier and cheaper. Some experts also believe that as CBDCs expand slowly but surely, and the more they are talked about, it will lead to greater investment in cryptocurrencies. American consumers may not see any immediate benefits from CBDCs, but those who think ahead and outside the box could benefit. 


4 Ways Market Research Can Strengthen Your Brand

  • February 15, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

When you think about the world’s biggest brands, what is it about them that captures your attention and makes them memorable? Sometimes, it’s an eye-catching combination of complementary colors or a clean, modern logo, and sometimes it is that unmistakable sound in all of their commercials. Whatever the it factor that makes a brand stand out from its competition, its marketing team likely employed research to learn what is happening in the market and activated that data of what works and what doesn’t work into a successful branding strategy. Here are 4 ways that conducting market research can help shape and strengthen your brand. 

Research Helps Brands Avoid Unforced Errors

No one wants to be that brand that tried to capture a new audience and proceeded to fail miserably by misreading the room. Those types of missteps can be difficult to recover from, if it happens at all. But these mistakes are emblematic of the importance of market research when doing anything brand-related, whether it is a single campaign or a full marketing strategy for a product launch. 

It’s usually when brands attempt to shift a bit or get noticed by a new demographic that things can go wrong. Women and young people are two target markets that are somehow still deeply misunderstood, even to this day. Market research would help brands learn how to communicate effectively with these two audiences. A good example of this type of misread is the way that brands will change the color of a product to pink, expecting that it will instantly make that product desirable to women. BIC famously tried this with their pens– changing their regular pens to pink and purple, renaming them For Her. Not surprisingly, women balked, and the pens were mocked on national television on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, by Ellen herself. 

In another widely criticized move, a Pepsi commercial used the backdrop of the social unrest that followed in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 to try and connect with a younger audience. In the commercial, Kendall Jenner offers a police officer a Pepsi, in an attempt to create a moment of peace in the midst of chaos. Needless to say, the campaign was ridiculed by nearly everyone and the commercial was quickly taken out of rotation. 

Create A Strong Customer-Focused Brand 

Developing deep and meaningful connections with an audience that stand the test of time is always a challenge for any brand. Brands cannot be created behind closed doors internally with little to no input from consumers in the market that the brand plans to enter. Using the tools of market research is how brands will gather data, make the necessary connections with consumers to learn what they want from a brand, and remove the guesswork. This is where brands learn how to create loyal customers. 

Research is Crucial For A New Product Launch

The launch of a new brand isn’t the only time when market research is necessary. Even established brands need to know where a new product or service will land when it hits the market. Introducing a new product can be tricky– will consumers recognize that product as part of the existing brand? When the insights gained from market research are used, brands can be assured that consumers will indeed recognize a new product as part of their brand. Gaps in the market will also become clear, giving brands a pathway to claim that untapped part of the market and gain a competitive advantage for new products and services now and in the future. 

Improve Your Brand Perception With Insights From Consumers

Market research is an essential part of branding, and can be used to establish and improve perception in a number of ways. Elements as seemingly simple as color combination, logo, and even the pitch of a sound in sonic branding, can affect the perception of a brand and needs to be tested via research. 

Regardless of what is being sold, a brand needs to have an easily discernible personality.  Using the correct research methods such as presenting ideas to a focus group helps brands check in with their audience to learn if the personality that they want to put forward is hitting the desired note, or missing the mark, as in the examples of the mistakes mentioned above. In the case of Pepsi, perhaps they could have learned through research that young people are smarter and more culturally savvy than previously assumed.

Read more about branding and marketing on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.


Marketing and Market Research– Do You Know the Difference? 

  • February 9, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

Every brand, whether they just recently launched, or are an established brand looking to reach a younger audience, needs both marketing and market research. Marketing teams need to hone their brand’s messaging, and market research tells them which audience should be the target of their carefully crafted story. So what is the difference between marketing and market research? 

What is Marketing? 

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. This definition can be enhanced by adding that marketing has the long-term goal of increasing brand loyalty and ultimately driving sales. 

So with the definition of marketing established, what is the purpose of marketing? Successful marketing has achieved the ultimate goal of attracting customers to a brand through effective messaging that resonates with its audience. Ideally, that messaging is educational, aspirational, or otherwise helpful to a brand’s target audience so that the messaging converts that audience into customers.  

From the early years of marketing in the 1950s, which saw television take its place alongside print as a method to reach potential customers, and now with the internet, marketers can create campaigns that can broadcast a brand’s message across multiple platforms. As it has become even more difficult to capture and keep an audience’s attention, marketers have an increasingly challenging task to successfully fine-tune how a business sells products to customers. 

How Marketing Intersects with Market Research

As mentioned above, effective marketing needs the foundation of messaging that connects with a brand’s audience. But do brands learn what their audience wants and needs so they can be converted into loyal customers? That’s where market research comes in. Market research is the process of gathering and analyzing data about a target market. It is typically focused on a product or service and an intended audience for that product or service. 

Market researchers look at areas like spending habits and characteristics to reveal what potential customers in a target market might want or need. Market research is also helpful for researchers to collect geographic and demographic data. Market researchers can also help identify important factors for companies, such as: 

  • Viability of a new product or service in a specific market
  • Potential new target markets
  • What types of advertising are the most effective
  • Current market trends

What to Know About the Different Types of Market Research

When it comes to market research, there are many ways that marketers can approach gathering the insights they need from their target audience. Here are some examples of the types of market research brands can invest in to learn more about their potential customers. 

  • Surveys: Company representatives or market researchers hired by a brand can get direct input from a target market by conducting surveys. They might cold call, email questionnaires or talk to people in high-traffic areas.
  • Focus groups: In order to get more specific feedback, marketers can gather a focus group of people who represents the market they wish to target. Giving potential customers direct experience with the product or a longer explanation of its features could allow them to provide more detailed, informed comments.
  • Social media: If brands want to do market research on a product or service that customers already use, social media can be a great asset. By checking popular hashtags or replies or searching a product or company name, companies can find honest opinions from real consumers.
  • Pre-existing market research: Brands may want to check if another company or the government has already done the research they want to conduct. Companies can purchase data from a market research company, and they can find public data in government databases, libraries, and online.

How Do Brands Benefit From Market Research?

When a brand wants to promote a product or a service, it is important that its marketing team carefully identifies its ideal target market and points the messaging in that direction. For example, by promoting baby food to young moms, brands can ensure that they are effectively utilizing their resources. 

Here are a few additional ways you can benefit from market research:

  • Understanding what markets would most benefit from your product or service
  • Identifying what customers want and need
  • Identifying different or additional target markets
  • Gaining valuable feedback for adjusting and improving your product or service

Read more about marketing and market research on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.