Table of Contents
- Understand the industry
- Get to know the consumer
- Identify company strategies
- Analyze Key Companies and Competitors
- Cite your information
- General research tips (coming soon!)
Note that this page contains links to resources that are only available via subscription. If you are not affiliated with Ohio University, check with your local library to see if they have access.
Featured image courtesy of southbeachcars, Creative Commons. I cropped and edited colors.
Understand the overall industry
Internet & Mail-Order Retail
Women’s Clothing Stores in the US
Lingerie Stores in the US
Handbag, luggage, and accessory stores in the US
search by company, for example “L Brands” or by brand, or search by general product category, such as “womenswear” or “handbags” to find relevant data
Tip: Make sure you click on the “Source” to find the link to where the data originally came from. This can be a great way to find more information.
Business Source Complete
Get to know the consumer
Apparel and Footwear Specialist Retailers in [Insert Country]
Internet Retailing in [Insert Country]
Bags and Luggage in [Insert Country]
- Luxury Leather Goods in [Insert Country]
Womenswear in [Insert Country]
L Brands Inc in Apparel and Footwear (USA) – covers strategic direction, key facts, internet strategy, and competitive positioning
Online Shopping – US – May 2018
Women’s Clothing – US -July 2017
Handbags and Accessories – US – April 2017
Men’s and Women’s Underwear and Sleepwear – US – February 2018
Activewear – US – October 2016
There are a number of other more general reports that might be relevant:
Marketing to Teens
Marketing to Millenials
Marketing to the iGeneration
- The Affluent and High Net Worth Premium Brand and Luxury Consumer – US
Simply search for the above reports by keyword in Mintel.
- This can be useful to learn what worked, what didn’t, and what the company has already tried.
- You can also search for competitor companies and brands to learn how they have tried to attract customers as well.
- Simply search by keyword (company or brand name) or browse by topics.
- It’s not a resource that I’ve used a whole lot, but check it out, as you may find it useful for your own research.
- Most of the content in WGSN covers current and future fashion styles, so you could use this to understand future consumers.
Identify company strategies
Nexis Uni (this used to be called LexisNexis) can be used to search for news about the company. This is a pretty basic way to find news articles.
You can also use Nexis Uni to search for company mergers and acquisitions. If a company buys another company, this might give you an idea of the direction they are heading.
- From the Nexis search men, click “Company Info” below the guided search menu, enter your company name, and then select “Mergers & Acquisitions” from the drop-down menu.
- This video shows you how to find strategy information in Nexis Uni.
You can also read the earnings conference call transcripts to get an understanding of strategic direction. During earnings conference calls, a company’s executives explain their sales and financials to stock brokers and analysts (who also ask questions). You can learn a lot from the executive’s answers.
- This can be a bit tricky to find, so I have a video to show you how to find earnings conference call transcripts in Nexis Uni.
This information may also be found for free at sites like Seeking Alpha
- The easiest place to search for 10-Ks is via the SEC website. Simply search by company name and find the most recent 10-K.
- Use Item 1 and Item 1A. This example from L Brands shows you what you’re looking for.
Analyze Key Companies and Competitors
Hoover’s is a great tool to use to get to know a company. Simply search by company name, such as L Brands, to get:
- A concise company overview
- News and social media about the company
- A comparison of financials with industry peers
- Links to industry information (it’s the same content from First Research)
- Biographies of key company executives
- A timeline of web traffic and news, with links to relevant articles about the company
Typically these reports tell you whether you should buy stock in a company or not.
They will often compare companies to the industry peers or competitors, giving you some industry insight.
Analysts may also discuss some corporate strategy, or what they think is the company’s strategy, or what they think should be the company’s strategy.
- I have two videos that demonstrate how to find different reports in Investext.
- We’re still having issues with this one. Use the other Hoovers linked just above.
- Note: D&B Hoovers only allows 50 users on the site at the same time. If that limit is reached, users will see a weird D&B login screen. The D&B login screen will not work, and will not allow additional logons (it’s not an issue with your account, trust me). Just try again later when some of the other users log off.
Provides a SWOT analysis, News, Significant Developments, and Analyst Reports for public companies.
Also contains lots of financial information about companies.
Cite your sources
“If you didn’t write it, you gotta cite it” are words to live by when writing your own reports or presentations. If you use other sources of information, you absolutely have to cite where the information came from. If you don’t cite your sources, it’s plagiarism, and that’s not good regardless of whether you’re in the academic or business world.
- Check out my friend, Steve’s guide to citing business resources in APA format. He does a great job of demonstrating how to cite tons of different business databases.
- If you use a resource that isn’t listed on his guide, just use the same basic pattern to build your own citation.