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As far as the research methods are concerned, they can be grouped in three categories: exploratory (it identifies a new problem), constructive (it creates a new solution) and empirical (it tests the efficacy of a solution that already exists) (Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia).
There are two types of research that best suit the purpose of Funky Threads: the constructive and the empirical ones. The empirical research has the advantage of providing methods that have already been used. Furthermore, it saves time and money. On the other hand, the constructive research may lead to the discovery of an ingenious solution that will boost the sales of the company. The Asia Pacific region market is a huge one and it represents a very big sale potential. An innovative or at least a different approach to marketing fashion items on this market, with the help of the Internet might turn Funky Threads into a very big success. Nevertheless, the research process oriented towards the creation of a new sale / promotion method is costly and presents the risk of not succeeding.
Interactivity plays an extremely important role in marketing over the Internet. In order to develop this aspect, Funky Threads could appeal to desktop research. Desktop research allows the improvement of the desktop features and it may also lead to the discovery of new components and relations between the existing elements. Graphics and sound can also be improved and better adapted with the help of desktop research results.
Taking into consideration the medium where its activity takes place, Funky Threads can use the tracking method in order to observe the frequency of the visits paid by people to the site, as well as their habits in gathering information.
Furthermore, qualitative research can be used by the Funky Threads Company in order to support its development. Taking into consideration the medium that it uses, it is of high importance to have information about the attitude that customers have towards this kind of acquisitions as well as their expectations. Knowing how people think is fundamental because not only does it allow you to create a message (an image) that will correspond to their needs and desires, but it also creates the possibility of presenting the offer (the company, the brand, the identity of the company) in a special manner, adapted to the social and cultural context in which the company functions. It must be kept in mind that the Internet brings together millions of companies offering similar products and services. One must know how to make itself appear different and more appealing than the others in order to attract more clients.
Funky Threads could use the interpretive research. This allows the access to deep perspectives including a variety of social and cultural implications. When it comes to the acquisition of fashion items, people do not think about a physiological need that they have to fulfill first, but about a social one. Image plays an essential role in the contemporary society. People judge and are judged by their appearance, by their image. Clothes and accessories contribute to the creation of this image. Therefore, the cultural aspects that contribute to the creation of the desire for fashion items (this desire is perceived more like a need) need to be known and understood. And the research that will best perform this task is the interpretive one. Funky Threads could make use in this regard of case studies, each of them on a specific issue included in a determined context.
Another research method that Funky Threads should use is represented by interviews. They are costly, but they present the advantage of obtaining deep insight on how the company, its products / services and activity are perceived. Even more, Funky Threads could adapt its presentation and offers in accordance to the cultural differences of various geographical areas. In order for the adaptation to be correct and efficient, the company could appeal to ethnographic research. Ethnographic research is also costly as it involves participant observation and it is a bit unusual to make a connection between business and this anthropological field. Nevertheless, a successful business on an international market can not afford to ignore the problems as well as the opportunities that different cultural spaces provide.
At the same time, the ethnographic research is a highly complex and difficult process, because the researchers must always be careful to distinguish between observation and interpretation. Every act has a social meaning which can be interpreted in various ways. The difficulty consists in finding an interpretation as accurate and profound as possible. It must be stated that this type of research takes time. However, the long-term results that it can provide may lead to substantial benefits, especially if we take into consideration the fact that the Internet will undergo a strong development as means of communication and satisfying various needs in the shortest time possible. It will play an important part upon mentalities just like different mentalities will influence its use.
Last, but not least, Funky Threads could use action research. Its main advantage is that the conclusions drawn in the first stages help develop more profound perspectives and methods later. Therefore, it can be stated that it would provide a continuous development for research issues as well as for the development of the business. The Internet has numerous advantages, but its rapid development rhythm imposes the capacity of quickly adapting to the occurring novelties. For example, blogs were not very well-known a year ago, whereas now they represent an excellent PR instrument, with the possibility of contributing to the marketing techniques as well.
All in all, Funky Threads uses marketing techniques that well adapted to the used medium, the Internet. Nevertheless these techniques could be updated and developed. As far as their development is concerned, it is important to underline the fundamental help that research provides. Taking into consideration the globalization tendency and its consequences from an economical but also from a cultural point-of-view, the type of research that would best suit Funky Threads is the qualitative one, including case studies, ethnographic research and even action research for strong long-term benefits.
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What is action research? July 27, 2006 http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/whatisar.html[continue]
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