Consumer Research: Salvation Army Trading Company

Building on our previous work with Salvation Army Trading Company (SATCoL), we were appointed to conduct consumer research to better understand SATCoL’s customer base and their needs. Market research data was collected from a representative sample of stores across the UK, with responses collected both instore and online.


The project sought to identify key personas for those who do, and do not, shop in SATCoL stores. We collected data including their motivations, barriers and knowledge of SATCoL activities.

We then used these personas to determine different ways to engage and attract new customers, and to propose a twelve-month communications plan.


A sample of stores was selected based on a stratification of SATCoL’s UK charity store profile including all key store types and regions. The consumer research was conducted both online and instore.

  • Instore: SATCoL staff and volunteers were supported by the Resource Futures team and SATCoL Head office to collect questionnaire responses through face-to-face interviews.
  • Online: Our team used paid geographically targeted Facebook advertising to collect responses from audiences within a small distance of each selected SATCoL store.

We compiled and analysed instore and online data and information separately to identify trends in values, motivations, barriers and shopping habits across all demographics. Results were compared with the national demographic profile and with data produced by the Charity Retail Association to place the finding in a wider context.

We produced a detailed analysis of the motivations, barriers and customer knowledge of SATCoL activities and used this to build a communications strategy and to propose a communications plan.


Results of the consumer research allowed us to identify:

  • Three distinct shopper personas. These were shared with stores to help them identify and engage the key customer groups.
  • Key barriers to engagement. This understanding enabled us to make recommendations to help increase the customer base.
  • Main motivations for shoppers both for going into a store and making a purchase. This information allowed us to recommend where SATCoL should focus activities and which interventions would benefit SATCoL most.
  • Public knowledge levels of SATCoL’s charitable activities and where knowledge gaps existed.
  • Consumer purchasing patterns both regionally and by store type.
  • The communications channels used by both shoppers and non-shoppers.

The results will be used by SATCoL to drive internal strategy developments and future marketing and communication programmes.

The project demonstrates our expertise at collecting and interpreting consumer data, and shows how we can use social media platforms to engage specific sectors of the public to gather project specific information and maximise public participation.

Project Information

Services involved

Private: Communications

Team involved

Sarah Hargreaves
Behaviour Change Lead / Principal Consultant

Bethan Jones