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  • Writer's pictureKristin Harper

How Businesses Stay Ahead By Using Innovative Consumer Research

Innovative Consumer Research

Innovative Consumer Research is an exciting and rapidly growing field that uses cutting-edge methodologies to understand consumer behavior. This type of market research provides insights into how consumers think, feel, and behave in response to marketing stimuli. This information is critical for businesses that want to create successful marketing campaigns, excel in innovative product and service development, and remain competitive in their industry. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at examples of well-known businesses and how they have used innovation research to succeed.

What is Innovative Consumer Research?

Innovative consumer research refers to the use of advanced techniques to gain insights into consumer behavior and preferences. It involves using tools such as virtual reality, eye-tracking, and biometric sensors to study consumer responses to products and services, advertising, and other marketing stimuli. Innovative consumer research also involves analyzing data from social media, online reviews, and other digital sources to understand consumer sentiment and trends.

This type of research is important for keeping companies abreast of what their consumers need and desire. Without it, businesses risk falling behind the competition. By utilizing innovation research to discover market trends, businesses can ensure that their products and services remain relevant and appealing to consumers.

Combining innovation research with cutting-edge technology

Innovative consumer research uses a range of market research techniques and cutting-edge technology to study consumer behavior and attitudes. Each method reveals different insights about customer preferences and behaviors, thereby enabling companies to make informed decisions about the products and services they provide for their customers.

A researcher can combine multiple methods for greater depth into a particular topic or issue that an organization wishes to explore. In this way, innovation research enables organizations to identify opportunities missed by traditional marketing methods, stay ahead of trends, tap into emerging markets, and create experiences that exceed customer expectations.

Some examples include:

  1. Virtual Reality is an innovation that can be used to simulate real-life shopping experiences. Researchers have used VR headsets to create simulated shopping experiences that can be used to test out new store layouts, signage, and product displays. By tracking how users move through the virtual store, analysts can gain insights into how consumers navigate physical stores in real life.

  2. Eye-Tracking technology tracks where people look on a website, in an advertisement, or in a store. This innovation helps analysts to understand which visual elements attract the most attention and how people interact with specific product features.

  3. Biometric Sensors are an innovation that can be used to measure a range of bodily responses, including heart rate, skin conductance, and more. These can provide insights into how people respond to different products, ads, or experiences. For example, a company might use biometric sensors to test out different packaging designs to see which ones trigger the strongest emotional response in consumers.

  4. Social Media Listening involves analyzing user-generated online content on social media platforms, such as tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram stories. By monitoring social media discussions online around specific brands, products, and services, or topics, researchers can identify emerging trends, understand consumer sentiments, and gain insights into the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

  5. Mobile Ethnography innovation involves participants documenting their daily activities and experiences using their smartphones. This approach allows analysts to get an in-depth understanding of consumer behavior, opinions, and preferences over time.

Overall, these innovative methods and high-tech tools offer a powerful way to better understand consumer behavior, preferences, and decision-making processes.

Companies that use innovative consumer research successfully

Several large companies have used innovative technology for consumer research to gain a better understanding of their consumers. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, researchers can help these companies gain insights that might have been impossible to obtain just a few years ago. Here are some well-known companies that have used innovative consumer research successfully.

  • Walmart has used the innovation of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets to recreate store environments and test new store layouts and product placements in a controlled environment before implementing changes in real stores. By tracking how people interact with the virtual store, Walmart has been able to make adjustments to improve the in-store experience for customers. For example, it used VR headsets to simulate the experience and process of browsing merchandise in a store. The company created a "domed room" that shoppers could enter while wearing VR headsets. Inside the room, shoppers explored virtual shelves and displays and selected items to purchase.

  • Coca-Cola has used facial recognition technology, eye-tracking innovation, and biometric sensors to measure consumer responses to advertisements and products. This approach helps the company to understand how people feel about its popular soft drink, and how they can connect with consumers on a deeper emotional level. In several studies, Coca-Cola used facial recognition technology to measure the emotional responses of consumers to different ads. The studies tracked the facial expressions of participants as they watched a series of ads and measured their emotional responses, such as happiness, surprise, and sadness. Coca-Cola then used this data to create ads that were personalized to different emotional profiles.

  • Ford Motor Company has used wearable sensors and biometric monitors to measure drivers' physiological data, such as heart rate, skin conductance, and breathing rates to better understand how people interact with their cars. In its studies, this innovation allowed researchers to use the data gathered to determine how drivers responded to different driving experiences. Participants wore the sensors while driving a specially designed car that could simulate different driving conditions, such as traffic jams or open highways. The sensors allowed researchers to monitor changes in drivers' physiological states in response to different driving scenarios and to design better driving experiences for consumers.

  • Nike has used social media listening and co-creation sessions to gather insights from customers to inform their product development process. For example, Nike has a dedicated team that monitors online conversations on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. This team uses advanced analytics tools to analyze social media discussions around specific brands, products, or topics. By monitoring online conversations, Nike has been able to identify emerging trends, understand customer sentiment, and gain insights into the effectiveness of its marketing campaigns.

  • Philip Morris International (PMI), one of the world’s leading tobacco companies, has used mobile ethnography innovation to gain deeper insights into consumers’ behaviors and preferences. PMI’s study explored the societal and cultural factors that influence smokers' behaviors and attitudes toward smoking. The study involved a group of international participants who were asked to document their daily smoking rituals, as well as their emotions, thoughts, and social interactions related to smoking. Participants used their smartphones to take photos, record videos, and write notes, which were then shared with researchers via a customized mobile app. The study allowed PMI to gain a better understanding of the complex and nuanced factors that influence smoking behavior.

Overall, these large companies have used innovative research, and leveraged cutting-edge technology to understand their consumers better and create products and experiences that meet their needs.


Innovative research is an essential tool for companies to understand their consumers better and can be conducted through a variety of methods. Many big businesses are using innovative and cutting-edge technology like Virtual Reality, Biometric Sensors, Eye-Tracking, Social Media Listening, and Mobile Ethnography to give insights into their consumers’ behaviors to help the companies make informed decisions regarding new product development and future marketing campaigns. To learn more about how your business can utilize this type of research, contact us!


Driven to Succeed is an award-winning global market research and consulting firm that compliments data (the “what”) with empathetic research and conversations (the “why”) to help Fortune 500 companies and high-growth brands uncover insights to innovate and grow. Our team has walked a mile in your shoes with over 100 years of experience in Market Research, Marketing, and P&L Management for global iconic brands and startup companies across diverse B2B and B2C industries. Learn more at

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