By Rachelle Wilber

Anticipating the needs of consumers is a perennial challenge for businesses. Consumer desires can change on a whim. Individuals are heavily influenced by their peers and friends, especially on social media. In order to accurately anticipate the needs and demands of consumers, businesses need to look to sound sources of data and helpful software management systems that can put the data together in a clear and concise way.

Market Research

Companies must conduct a great deal of market research in order to effectively meet consumer needs and demands. Market research is performed through a variety of methods. One way that companies can monitor and anticipate the needs of consumers is monitoring same store sales data over time. For example, if a certain company wants to estimate how many widgets to send to a store for the holiday season, it could look to its past sales data. Overall market trends are also important. These businesses may look to economic data such as the consumer confidence index and market saturation of a product in order to estimate how many of its products may sell over a specific time frame.

Focus Groups

When a company desires detailed information from consumers about their specific needs, it can put together a focus group. Focus groups are comprised of a demographic sample or a sampling of the corporation’s target market or audience. For example, a corporation that is focused on clothing for young women may choose a focus group of 15 to 20 females aged 12 to 18. In a focus group, the consumers may be given the chance to view product samples and provide critical feedback. The consumers can also provide information about their unmet needs. Young women might report that they have no trouble finding “skinny jeans,” but they have more difficulty finding clothing that fits a full figure. Focus group participants are typically paid for their time.

IT Management Software

IT management software is another important tool that businesses can use for anticipating the needs of consumers. Software packages make it easy to collect and analyze data. The software allows a company to maintain accurate budgets, allocate resources and keep e-commerce sites up and running. IT management software also enables corporations to manage their data and networks, provide digital customer service and keep their data secure. Some types of IT management software allow businesses to monitor individual workstation performance, monitor networks for viruses, and optimize the speed of different applications.

Social Media Trends

Social media trends are a key source of information about consumer wants, needs, and behavior. Companies can collect data from social media likes, posts and interactions. This data can be used to develop new products or services or to improve upon existing products and services. Businesses may also use social media data to anticipate the demand of a product and work to ensure that the products are delivered to the right retailers at the right time in order to meet consumer demands. The data might be used to scale up or scale down production at certain times of the year, such as increasing production in advance of the holiday gift-giving season. Companies also use social media trends and data to get an idea of the competition’s market share and to highlight the advantages of their products over others.

Getting the right balance between consumer needs and demands and the supply of the product or service is a challenge. These four strategies allow businesses to use data to anticipate consumer needs. Implementing a variety of these methods, backed by solid software products, can help companies to maximize their sales and market share.


Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber; Facebook.