Something’s amiss, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Your in-store numbers aren’t hitting the mark and worse, they’ve become very unpredictable. It’s almost as if something else is determining what shoppers are buying.
Do you feel like you’re shooting in the dark? Or, maybe you’re stuck in the past—you know what used to work, but you realize that you might not really have a pulse on your shoppers anymore? Whatever the case, you need to start moving the needle on sales and regain some control of your in-store performance.
So, how do you get in the head of your shoppers? Research. It’s not what you think that matters, it’s what your shoppers’ think that matters. Primary research, exploring a series of specific questions directly targeted at consumers that shop your products, is the way to understand exactly what motivates and drives their behavior. And, we aren’t talking about the ole’ time-consuming, expensive research. Today, 75% of consumers are using their mobile devices while in-store, making mobile research a viable tool for collecting feedback from consumers efficiently and cost effectively.
So, how does mobile research work? And, what are the benefits of doing research this way?
First off, we aren’t suggesting doing mobile research alone. Mobile should be part of an integrated approach to conducting research so that you can get in front of consumers when it matters most and collect a full view of the consumer’s behavior. For example, integrating in-store mobile surveys with online focus groups allows you to gather consumer perceptions at the point of purchase as well as further insights and clarity on consumer motivations later.
By using mobile, your respondents will be able to really give you insights as it relates to the path to purchase—from pre-purchase, purchase and post purchase—while they are in the moment. Another benefit of including mobile research is that it enables respondents to easily upload audio, photo and video recordings through the mobile research application. That said, “mobile journals” can be kept as the consumer is going through their entire path to purchase, giving insights as to what they do before entering the store, what products they consider, what they see in-store and out-of-store, what captures their attention and what frustrates them. And, you won’t have the issue of traditional focus groups or online discussions, where the user has to recall what happened, which often is not as accurate as in-the-moment journaling.
At this point, you may be wondering: why include online research at all? The answer is simple. As we said before, there is no one research method that will give you everything you need to unlock what’s going on with your consumers. To do that, you’ll need to go hybrid. Mobile mainly allows for quick, short questions, photos and answers. For a more in-depth understanding of the consumer’s experience and behavior, you’ll need to allow for further explanation.
Finally, remember it’s all about the right insights—the right research method is only half the battle. Make sure to spend the time to ensure that you are asking the right questions. And, later after the research is done, ensure that you also have the necessary individuals in place to analyze and interpret your data correctly. Otherwise, you may simply be throwing away your investment.
It’s not what you think that matters. Consumers’ buying behaviors are changing quickly and significantly. Mobile and other technologies are changing the in-store experience. Why not start using these technologies to figure out what’s really motivating your consumers to purchase?
Lisa Cramer is the Vice-President of Sales and Marketing at InReality