Observation is especially useful for those who are completely unfamiliar with a region because this method provides a first-hand opportunity to watch and learn. Trade missions to other nations are excellent opportunities for experiential information through observation in new markets. Observation can also help with the details of product refinements for specific regions. Knowing this, Toyota once dispatched a team of engineers and designers to the U.S., where they discreetly observed as women got into and operated their cars. Key observations– such as how women with long fingernails had trouble opening doors– led to subtle design changes. But, be aware of regional regulations regarding observation. In Europe, for example, researchers and marketers much schedule retail store checks with store managers in advance.
This is an excerpt from Dr. Czinkota’s book Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead, co-authored by Dr. Ilkka Ronkainen.
Michael R Czinkota and Ilkka A Ronkainen, Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead (New York: Routledge, 2011), pg. 46.