Long ago research was merely a synonym for "doing your homework" that is, store visits, analysis of competitive packaging, and so on) at the beginning of a new project. But now it is not at all the same. Consumers were rarely a part of the design development or selection process, as nearly all decisions were left to the collective judgment (and "gut feel') of package designers and their clients. This approach was certainly easier for both the designers and brand managers involved, and it rested on the assumption that the connection between sales and packaging design was not a critical parameter to be considered during design. But, today it is universally acknowledged that packaging decisions can have a significant impact on sales. Accordingly, it is understood that marketers cannot be expected to make these decisions without some evidence of consumer acceptance. As a result, nearly every design professional has become familiar with the back rooms of focus-group facilities.
For package designers, the relative appeal of qualitative research is obvious: It is hands-on (that is, designers can view and influence the research as it happens), and it provides a great deal of flexibility for gathering reactions to various design elements and executions. For this reason, it is an ideal diagnostic tool that can also reassure clients that they are not confusing or offending customers. Therefore, it is not surprising that many larger design consultancies have embraced qualitative research to develop their own research divisions.
From the marketer's perspective, however, it has become increasingly clear that qualitative research is often not enough. Beyond the well-documented limitations of focus groups and any interpretation of the findings is somewhat subjective their most significant drawback is their inability to provide the numerical evidence that marketers need to guide (and support/justify) their decisions.
Therefore, marketers are turning to quantitative research- in which they gather feedback from hundreds of target customers via structured surveys and rating scales- to guide their final decision-making. At the same time, however, they favor qualitative research earlier in the design development process, as a tool to provide initial direction and to "narrow down" a wide range of initial concepts.
Qualitative research has its limitations in its interviewer/ moderator. There is a lack of established norms for use in qualitative research because such research deals with changes in behavior and attitude. The interviewer's role is vital.
Qualitative research requires skilled marketing talent to the effective. Whereas quantitative research is normally designed in a questionnaire format, computerized, and summarized for reference with statistical analysis. Qualitative research is a written analysis of the situation, product, or concept creating a hypothesis strategy.
A hypothesis strategy is valuable in designing additional quantitative studies. Qualitative and quantitative research must work together to form effective marketing tools. It has been observed that qualitative research is a quick and effective way to understand today's ever-changing marketplace. Depth interviews have now extended to the focus group concept as an effective way to assess consumer views about a product, package, service, or idea. Focus groups provide consumer feedback that is necessary for marketing strategy and helps to prove your hypothesis. The use of qualitative research particularly in the form of the focus groups is proven when coupled with appropriate qualitative procedures. While many quantitative methods are utilized in package design research, sometimes the importance of the softer side of research- the qualitative techniques are also overlooked. So both qualitative and quantitative research plays a significant role in package design research.
To know more about - Package Design Research, Buy "The Big Book of Packaging" from https://www.bigbookofpackaging.com or from Amazon