Mobile Shop-Alongs and Online Market Research

Understanding what goes through your customers’ minds is a key objective when it comes to conducting online market research. Essentially, the thought/feeling process of a customer leads him or her through the entire purchase cycle, and it is the job of the research team to find out if and how that can be influenced in order to help a business achieve its objectives and complete more sales. However, traditional market research requires participants to recall their thought processes and emotions while in a store or when shopping online. The only truly candid time a moderator or researcher gets is when gauging reactions in the moment. Mobile shop-alongs, like other digital innovations have been a game changer.

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How Do Mobile Shop-Alongs Work?

In the past, the only way to observe a shopper in his or her own element was to send a researcher along to a store to follow the customer around to observe and perhaps ask follow-up questions. There is also the option to use hidden cameras to track shoppers and record their comments, but that opens up privacy concerns, and a consumer may not be as candid as desired.

Mobile shop-alongs help solve these challenges by connecting researchers with willing participants who will share their shopping process, moment by monent. By recording themselves with audio and video while at the store, a customer gives direct access to his or her in-store behaviors. This research technique takes the physical researcher out of the equation so that a participant is uninterrupted. Doing so helps to remove influence bias and keeps shoppers from feeling as self-conscious as they otherwise might during the process.

Capitalizing on Mobile Shop-Along Data

Although you can gain tremendous insight into someone’s shopping habits with the help of a mobile shop-along, it is often desirable to dig deeper to gain as much understanding about the data as possible. Conducting follow-up interviews, either individually at length or through a focus group, supplements an organization’s online market research. This gives researchers the opportunity to ask further questions about the reasons behind a particular response to a product, its price, shelf placement, visual impact, or the overall shopping atmosphere, for example.

Mobile shop-alongs can also be integrated into a research strategy for multi-day discussions with a group of participants. Consumers can take a day to go to a retail outlet and record audio or video of their thoughts, to report on with the group the next day. By allowing consumers to join a discussion from the comfort of their homes, researchers remove some of the barriers to communication and, in turn, get participants that are more engaged and active.

Video and audio notes make it easier for shoppers to convey their thoughts in the moment, without needing to write them down or recall them in front of the group, later, after hours have gone by. Instead, the research team gets an immediate snapshot that provides actionable information that can be used when building new strategies in the future. Learn more about how to take advantage of mobile shop-alongs and online focus groups by contacting a professional at e-FocusGroups today at (707) 585-7363.