MEANING AND FEATURES OF CONSUMER PANELS:
Consumer panel/profile is one more method of consumer research, a technique of primary data collection which is similar to survey work. Here, a group of consumers (a permanent sample of respondents collectively called panel) is selected and their opinions/views/reactions collected. For this, personal interview or telephone inquiry is made, or the panel members may be asked to record regularly in the diaries provided their purchases or listening or viewing habits in the case of radio or TV. The information is collected often and again for the purposeof scrutiny In due course, it is tabulated for drawing conclusions
The selection of panel members is usually made on the basis of age/ economic status, likes and dislikes, etc , of consumers and is used for data collection regularly over a long period. It is a permanent sample of respondents for research work and may include individuals, housewives, households, dealers or firms from whom information is collected periodically. The panel members also agree to co-operate by providing their views on different topics from time to time
The other term used for consumer panel is Omnibus Panel It means a fixed sample of respondents who are interviewed (for information collection) on different variables over a period of time The information is collected from the respondents on certain matters such as purchases made, price paid, reactions on the products purchased, shopping behaviour, etc Suitable conclusions are drawn on the basis of information collected
According to Ronald M.Weiers, “Panels consist of persons, households or business firms who report their purchasing activities at periodic intervals over time and who are typically selected based on a combination of their willingness and representativeness”. A consumer panel may be defined as “a group of consumers who voluntarily agreed to be interviewed on the same topic or on different topics from time to time for data collection regularly and continuously”.
Panel method can be used effectively in order to study consumer behaviour under different situations. It also facilitates continuous study of behaviour of consumers over a particular period The reactions of consumers to the product, its quality, packaging, advertising, pricing, etc can be studied continuously through consumer panel method Consumer expectations can be studied with reasonable accuracy through such panels
Consumer panel method gives reliable information for policy decisions on marketing There is close communication with the respondents This facilitates a continuous check on the record of consumer behaviour over a specific period The reactions of consumers are regularly recorded for policy decisions Some manufacturers supply samples of new products to panel members for testing. The reactions of members are collected through personal interviews Sometimes, cash prizes/gifts are given to panel members as incentive and thereby they are induced to give better co-operation in the survey work For better results, the panel members should be selected with proper care.
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