Cambridge Consultants paves the way to advanced consumer feedback

Product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants believes that now is the right time for emerging technologies to be harnessed to gather consumer insight. This approach is set to disrupt the multi-billion dollar market research sector, allowing new ways to gather insight and helping to improve products and services in the future.

Understanding consumer needs is a fundamental element of consumer technology development. However, traditional methods of gathering consumer insights are not perfect – the very action of gathering these insights through surveys or interviews can actually change consumers’ responses and behaviours. Additionally, gathering large amounts of information over long periods of time is often impractical, due to the cost and complexity of such large trials.

Sensing, connectivity, algorithm and machine learning technologies are becoming ubiquitous and now is the perfect time to leverage them for the specific purpose of gaining consumer insight – in concept testing and also after product launch. The key benefit of technology-based data gathering is that it is scalable in a way that traditional survey techniques are not.

To demonstrate the potential of these techniques, Cambridge Consultants has added machine vision technology to its Vinfusion wine blending system. The system blends a unique wine based on an individual’s taste preferences, which are then entered into a connected mobile app. Using image recognition technology, the system can assess whether the individual enjoyed the wine, by analysing their facial reaction immediately after tasting.

This visual recognition technology can also determine gender and age, allowing for trends and patterns to be established across genders and age groups. For example, a trial of Vinfusion with this insight technology established that males appear to prefer fuller bodied and “fiery” wines, while females tend to prefer lighter and softer wines. There was also a general trend amongst older consumers to prefer drier wines. These insights were uncovered without the need for human observation of the consumers in the trial, or to find the information from interviews or questionnaires.

For market research companies as well as consumer brands, once this type of technology is deployed, the insight comes for free, and because it is not intrusive, provides the opportunity for better quality results. When combined with data from diverse sources, it can produce sophisticated intelligence to establish trends in consumer preferences. For example, it can be used to link purchases to wider influencing factors, such as weather patterns and seasons.  

“One of the challenges of developing consumer products is anticipating the needs of the customer, both in trying to predict who that customer is, and making assumptions about what they like,” said Edward Brunner, Head of Asia Consumer Business, “Securing the right insights is crucial to commercial success and this technology approach will be a significant part of the industry in the near future. Now is the right time for companies to be engaging with this tech-led approach in order to stay ahead of their competitors.”

This approach is another example of how Cambridge Consultants uses science-led innovation to address complex challenges and create unique customer experiences.

Cambridge Consultants is demonstrating this technology at Drinktec 2017 in Munich from September 11th to 15th, along with its smarter recycling concept.

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