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1. Why is market research important for businesses?

Five best market research tools for unveiling business insights

Navigating the competitive landscape of business requires more than just intuition; it's about making decisions backed by solid data and insights. And when it comes to print on demand businesses, understanding the ever-changing tides of consumer preferences and design trends isn't just beneficial, it's essential. That's where market research tools come into play, shining a light on the path ahead. 

In this article, we'll explore the five best market research tools that can help you uncover valuable business insights. Whether you're looking to decode global market demands or spot the next big design trend, these tools are your compass to guide the way.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Market research provides businesses with hard data to form the backbone of strategic decisions, ensuring they are aligned with audience preferences and market trends.

  • For print on demand businesses, conducting market research to derive valuable insights about the target market is even more important as they operate on an on-demand business model, making products as and when orders come in.

  • Top market research tools include Google Trends, SurveyMonkey, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Qualtrics Market Research Panel. These tools help businesses gather valuable market data on current trends to understand changing customer needs and preferences.

  • Gelato's print on demand model allows businesses to quickly adapt to market trends, offers localized production for specific regions, and helps in optimizing product selection for more sales.

Why is market research important for businesses?

Market research is the pulse-check of what audiences want, need, and expect. It provides businesses with hard data, which forms the backbone of marketing strategies. Instead of going with gut feelings or assumptions, businesses can rely on actual numbers and feedback. When they understand market dynamics, they can anticipate challenges and adjust their strategies. Think of it as a safety net that helps them ensure they don't pour resources into potentially unfruitful avenues.

Beyond just demographics, market research offers insights into customer shopping behavior, preferences, and pain points. It's like getting a pass into the minds of your target audience.

The pronounced need for market research for print on demand businesses

Print on demand is a dynamic industry. The beauty of it is that products are created only once an order is made, which means inventory costs are low. But there's a catch. With the advantage of not maintaining stock comes the challenge of constantly staying on-trend. Today's hottest design could be tomorrow's old news. Print on demand businesses must always have a finger on the pulse of design trends. From the colors that are in vogue to pop culture phenomena, understanding these shifts is crucial.

Unlike traditional businesses, print on demand relies heavily on understanding nuanced consumer insights with market research data. Maybe they're looking for eco-friendly products, or perhaps a certain type of graphic is gaining traction. Knowing these specifics can make all the difference. Print on demand also offers the opportunity to tap into global markets, which means businesses operating on this model need to understand varying cultural trends, preferences, and seasonality shifts.

Top five market research tools to stay ahead of your game

To stay one step ahead of your competitors and dominate your field, investing in advanced market research tools is necessary. Here are the top five market research tools for you to consider.

1. Google Trends

Imagine you could peek into everyone's browser and see what's tickling their fancy. That's Google Trends for you. Google Trends isn't just any market research tool. It has the ability to track the rise and fall of keyword search trends over different periods and offer deep-diving geographical insights, so you know what's hot in Tokyo, Toronto, or Texas, and showcase related topics, giving you a broader perspective on what's in and what's linked.


Google Trends is one of the free market research tools that helps you gain real-time insights into consumer search behavior, understand the seasonality of certain products, and decode emerging global trends before they become mainstream. Remember, it's always good to be one step ahead.

Ideal use case

Ever wondered if those retro ‘90s designs are still in vogue? Or if eco-friendly products are gaining traction? Google Trends is your go-to tool. By inputting specific keywords, you can gauge the popularity of designs or products. If searches for 'sustainable tees' are skyrocketing, you've got a clear direction.

Relevance for print on demand

Google Trends helps you identify designs or themes that are gaining or losing steam. Is there a rising interest in "minimalist artwork" or "vintage pop culture"? You will know what to print next. With geographical breakdowns, you can cater to specific regional preferences. Maybe floral patterns are huge in France but not in Finland. Google Trends will tell.

2. SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey isn't just any questionnaire tool. It's like having a direct line to your audience's thoughts and preferences. Its standout features include the ability to craft market research surveys that fit your brand's look and voice, target specific audience segments so that your questions reach the right ears, and a dashboard that lets you analyze results in real time, turning responses into actionable insights.


So, why should you use this market research platform? Direct feedback is gold in the business world. With SurveyMonkey, you're not guessing what your audience wants; you're hearing it straight from the horse's mouth. The platform's versatility means you can tailor surveys to niche markets. Whether you're targeting Gen Z or Baby Boomers, your survey can be shaped to resonate.

Ideal use case

Imagine you've sketched out three amazing print designs, but you're not sure which one will be a hit. Instead of playing eeny, meeny, miny, moe, use SurveyMonkey. By collecting feedback on design concepts or new product ideas, you can launch with confidence, knowing there's an eager market awaiting.

Relevance for print on demand

For print on demand businesses, the canvas (or t-shirt, mug, poster) is vast, but not every design is a masterpiece in the eyes of your audience. This is where SurveyMonkey can be a game-changer. By running surveys, you can get a clear idea of which designs resonate. Get insights into what kind of products your audience wants. Maybe they're craving tote bags with catchy slogans or cozy hoodies with abstract art.

3. SEMrush

SEMrush isn't just a tool. With its multifaceted offerings, you can dive deep into keyword research to know what terms are driving traffic, get an edge with competitive analysis, unveil strategies that work for your competitors, and track and do backlink analysis with robust data visualization capabilities, giving you insights into who's linking to whom and why.


Here's why SEMrush should be among your essential marketing tools to conduct market research.

It is a free market research tool that helps you gain unparalleled SEO and SEM insights to optimize your online presence, and by peeling back the curtain on competitor strategies, you're no longer shooting in the dark but navigating with a clear direction. It also lets you elevate your content and website with keyword optimization, ensuring that you're not just visible but prominently so.

Ideal use case

Picture this: a competitor has just launched a new line of products that's gaining traction. With SEMrush, you can dive into their keyword strategies, uncovering what terms they're ranking for. Are they capitalizing on 'sustainable print fashion' or 'retro pop designs'? Now, you can fine-tune your strategy accordingly.

Relevance for print on demand

When it comes to print on demand, the difference between a bestseller and a dud could simply be the keywords you rank for. SEMrush can make that difference by helping you discover keywords linked to top-selling designs and products. If 'boho chic wall prints' are trending, you know what your next design line should explore. Identify content opportunities that resonate with your audience. If blog posts on 'the art of minimalism' are getting traffic, it's time to share your expertise and draw potential customers.

4. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is more than a tool; think of it as your compass in the vast digital universe. It's a powerful market research tool that enables a comprehensive backlink analysis that maps out the web of links leading to and from your site and a meticulous keyword research tool that lets you know which words and phrases resonate in your niche. Its content explorer, an insightful feature, lets you delve deep into what's trending and where you fit in.


Wondering how Ahrefs can elevate your online strategy? Get a crystal-clear view of your competitors' backlink strategies. Who's linking to them, and why? Ahrefs spills the beans. Identify content gaps that you can capitalize on. Maybe there's a topic that everyone is curious about, but nobody addresses it effectively. Now's your chance to shine.

Ideal use case

So, you've got these cool designs, and you want the world to see them. Where to start? Ahrefs can help by identifying influential sites or blogs in the design space. Maybe there's a blog that's huge among interior decorators or a site that fashion-forward millennials swear by. By collaborating with them, you get your designs in front of a hungry audience.

Relevance for print on demand

By pinpointing influential design blogs or influencers, Ahrefs lets you collaborate, sponsor posts, or even just get a shout-out. The right mention by the right influencer can send a tidal wave of traffic your way. Using Ahrefs, you can also track how these collaborations impact your backlink profile and domain authority. Over time, this could make your site a go-to destination for print on demand enthusiasts.

5. Qualtrics Market Research Panel

Qualtrics' market research tool gives you access to the collective psyche of the market. It lets you generate detailed market reports that are a goldmine of data simplifying the intricacies of supply and demand, offers insightful dives into consumer trends mapping out the evolving tastes and preferences of your audience, and a hawk-eyed view of competitive intelligence, letting you understand and even predict your rivals' next moves.


Qualtrics can be a game-changer for you as it offers a 360° panorama of comprehensive market insights. No more piecing together fragmented information—Qualtrics gives you the full picture. It empowers you to spot emerging trends before they become mainstream, so you can always be two steps ahead. With a deeper understanding of consumer behaviors, your strategies can be more aligned, agile, and adept.

Ideal use case

In the fast-paced world of business, the view from the ground can often be myopic. Qualtrics allows you to zoom out and get a macro view of market demands and trends. Are sustainable products becoming the norm? Is there a surge in demand for boho-chic designs? Qualtrics can be your guide.

Relevance for print on demand

For print on demand artists and entrepreneurs, Qualtrics is akin to a guiding star. By staying updated with broader design and product trends, you can tailor your collections to mirror market demand. Not just reactive, it allows you to be proactive, letting you introduce designs that could define the next big trend.

Adapt to evolving market trends with Gelato

The market is a living, breathing entity, with its preferences and tastes changing almost daily. Gelato's print on demand fulfillment platform is like your very own chameleon, allowing you to quickly pivot and respond to these shifts. Notice a spike in demand for abstract art designs from your market research? With just a few clicks, your offerings can mirror this trend, ensuring you're always riding the wave.

Localized production

One size doesn't fit all, especially when it comes to global markets. What's hot in Paris might not be the same in Tokyo. Gelato's local production capabilities let you tailor your product range for specific regions based on market research insights. No more guesswork; now hit the mark every single time!

Optimized product selection

Pair market research with Gelato, and you have a recipe for success. By understanding which products are in demand, you can fine-tune your product selection, including mugs, phone cases, photo books, and wall art, and listing strategies. Promote tropical designs in regions craving for summer vibes or push minimalist designs in urban hubs.

Increased sales

What's the endgame of all this? A tangible boost in sales. By marrying market research with Gelato's nimble platform, you're ensuring that each product resonates, each campaign hits its mark, and every sale opportunity is maximized.

Gelato isn't just a platform; it's your strategic partner in the bustling print on demand marketplace. As trends evolve, consumer tastes shift, and markets transform, Gelato ensures you're not just keeping up but leading the charge. So, sign up for Gelato and watch your bottom line improve.


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