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Section 1 - Methodology

How do I know which methodology is best?

How do I know which methodology is best?

Cost aside, your choice of methodology should be determined by what it is you are trying to find out.

  • If you are trying to understand what someone thinks about a product, category, idea, etc, online is a good choice. Questions like 'why do you buy pasta sauce?' can just as easily be answered at home online or on the phone as they can in the store. Online works well for opinion (or reaction) to new packaging, a concept or meal idea as well as being good for harnessing general usage & attitude information.
  • If you are trying to understand how shoppers behave when they are shopping, what they see, touch, where they go and why, in-store research is a better choice. The reason being that shoppers are largely unaware of what they do when they are shopping. Even if they are aware, shopper recall is unreliable (& therefore inaccurate) once they have left the store. If you think about it, if someone asked you if you browsed pasta sauce on your last shopping trip & whether you picked something up or noticed the promotional material, would you really give an accurate response?

There is a big difference between what shoppers think they do & what they actually do when shopping and therefore if your goal is to find out about what shoppers do, then in-store is the better choice. See this case study for more information.

Shoppers are busy so how can I ensure we receive the most accurate interview information?

Shoppers are busy so how can I ensure we receive the most accurate interview information?

The briefing, understanding, training & skills of the interviewer are key to accurate interview information. With shopper research, questions that appear simple on paper can become complex in the real store environment. For example when recording dwell time, what if the shopper takes a phone call whilst stood at the fixture; is this counted as dwell time? What if the shopper glances quickly at the fixture but doesn't really look; are they browsers? What if the shopper puts the product in the trolley but then discards it later on down the aisle; are they buyers or rejecters?

Garbage in, garbage out as someone once said and this couldn't be more true for in-store shopper research. Consistency & quality of collection are key. When you are commissioning in-store research do your homework on the fieldwork. See a case study on this topic.

Here are some handy tips for questionning to get you started:

Quality & consistency standards & processes

Many agencies outsource the fieldwork and this could mean that today your researchers could be interviewing about commute times at train stations and tomorrow working on your precious project. Check out what your local market research bodies state as a minimum requirement for superviser visits - for many countries it can be as little as only once every 180-days - and learn how quality & consistency will be trained & managed by your agency before, during & after the fieldwork.

Questionnaire differences

Design, style, structure & length of questions are significantly and subtly different between in-store and online methodologies. If an online technique is used in-store, or vice versa, the integrity of the research could be compromised. Online, it is practice to see lengthier questions with a long list of answers that a respondent can tick as online the respondent can sit back & re-read. As a result online questionnaires can be as long as 20-30 minutes. Some would argue this is way too long and introduces respondent fatigue so check with your agency on this point.

In-store, questions need to be clearer, in shopper speak and with a greater variety of questionning techniques and therefore the design of the questionnaire and the skills of the individual researcher play an important role to ensure interviews are not aborted half way through.

If you have chosen in-store as your preferred methodology you should expect that the agency you are dealing with to be experienced in the differences between online and in-store interviewing. Be sure to check this out with them.

Walk in the shoppers' shoes

Select a few different types of stores yourself and go in to check out the complexities of specific issues that a researcher could come up against in your category. For example, are pillars obstructing views? Is the category split across two aisles? Is the segmentation clear on shelf and if not, how will segment level browsing information be secured?

We'd also recommend that you go into store with your short-listed agency partners, get to meet their field manager and people on the ground who will be conducting your research and ask them your questions.

Why is in-store research so much more expensive than online?

Why is in-store research so much more expensive than online?

With online research you can cast a pretty wide net, e.g. 'someone that has bought (dog food) in the last week / month' as opposed to in-store research where you actually have to wait to observe and then talk to someone who actually does buy dog food today. Due to size, penetration & conversion factors, the additional time required to capture an equivalent sample in-store compared to online is huge and this equates to more cost as a general rule. Before you spend, you should thoroughly research which methodology you actually need.

Section 2 - Syndicated vs Bespoke research

If my competitors have the same (syndicated) research as me, how do I drive competitive advantage?

If my competitors have the same (syndicated) research as me, how do I drive competitive advantage?

Syndicated data sources such as scan, panel or loyalty card data have been around for a long time and are well used. Shopperpedia is the relatively new kid on this block and therefore perhaps attracts this question more than these more established syndicated data sources.

The truth is that with or without syndication, your competition does buy the same research as you. It might have slightly different elements to it, but as you're both operating in the same category, with the same retailers & under the same conditions, you can bet your life that they have 90% of the same questions that you do and therefore when they conduct their research, 90% of their questions will be the same as yours.

To quote Henry David Thoreau: "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see". If this wasn't the case every brand in every category would look the same. They don't because we don't all think the same. Competitive advantage is about being better than your competition and this is not about what you are looking at, i.e. the data, but what you are seeing, thinking & doing as a result of looking at the data. That's why they pay you the big bucks after all!

 

Why buy syndicated research when it means the retailers get to see all of my bad news as well as the good?

Why buy syndicated research when it means the retailers get to see all of my bad news as well as the good?

How closely you work with the retailers is a business decision that can change & is subject to many considerations. What's key is whether your business tells them the truth or not. With consumers, if we bend the truth, they find out. If it says 4 serve on the jar, they get it home and it only serves a measely two portions, they'll vote with their feet and buy another brand next time.

As a result, most brands tend to steer well clear of making false claims with consumers but can the same be said of claims to retailers? Do you really think they won't find out and that your competition will allow you to spin a story to the retailer that isn't true?

It is our experience that time is spent more efficiently when trading partners are sat discussing the real meaty issues - whether good or bad news - rather than arguing amongst themselves as to whose version of the truth is most accurate.

See this case study which highlights the benefits of syndicated research.

Section 3 - Competitors & pricing

How expensive is Shopperpedia?

How expensive is Shopperpedia?

In order to work out your specific pricing, we'd need to know further details such as the number of core categories & shares within those, however we can assure you that our pricing is a fraction of that which you'd pay if you went bespoke. Please see our competitor comparison for more details.

Shopperpedia pricing is worked out based on value out and not access in. We know that you move around from company to company and therefore it would be commerical suicide for us to have anything other than a fair & equitable pricing structure. As such, all of our pricing uses a strict pricing model for each market so that you can have the confidence that you are getting a fair deal.

Who are your competitors?

Who are your competitors?

All bespoke & national agencies that conduct shopper research. To some extent, we also consider consumer agencies to be competitors as at the end of the day, we are fighting for a share of our clients' precious budget each year and therefore we need to prove ROI to them over and above other choices they could make.

Please review our competitor comparisons and our ROI calculator.

Section 4 - Subscription specifics

Can I ask questions in the Deep Dive or Pulse that are unique to me/my category?

Can I ask questions in the Deep Dive or Pulse that are unique to me/my category?

Shopperpedia is a syndicated service that is designed to cover 90-95% of all of the questions that you, your competitors and your trade partners would have about this category. Our ethos is that if something is big enough to be collected quantitatively we should be covering it as, whilst we aim to cover 90-95% of all of the questions you may have, we aim to cover 100% of all the quantitative questions you may have.

Shopperpedia is not designed to replace the very specific, more niche (and therefore 9 times out of 10 qualitative) questions that you have and that which, to be honest you probably wouldn't want in the public domain anyway.

Can we have our category deep dived sooner than it is currently planned?

Can we have our category deep dived sooner than it is currently planned?

There are ways this can be worked and some may involve additional cost from you. If your request is to bring your deep dive forward a few months within its cycle, this can usually be accommodated as long as like commitments have not been promised already to other clients. If your request means that we need to deep dive the category out of cycle or more often than is planned, this will incur additional cost.

Can we just purchase one bit / some of Shopperpedia or does it have to be a subscription?

Can we just purchase one bit / some of Shopperpedia or does it have to be a subscription?

Shopperpedia works because we can build economies of scale into our business model. We are in store every day researching across all of the significant FMCG categories and this is a significant upfront investment from us in order to bring our offer to market. Our survival is dependent on achieving revenue targets with the known, core, FMCG manufacturers within each market.

If this revenue mix is not optimised, we lose the economies of scale that enable us to offer such good pricing to all subscribers and therefore as such, our pricing is subscription based.

What do you mean by 'deep dive' research and 'pulse' research cycles?

What do you mean by 'deep dive' research and 'pulse' research cycles?

Pulse research happens every day for every category that we cover. We cover all significant categories in FMCG but there are minor differences between markets so check with your local Shopperpedia representative for exact details.

Pulse research is the observation of the shopper. It covers all of the aspects of shopper behaviour that can change from month-month, e.g. how shoppers behave in-store, where they go, what they see, touch & interact with etc. The point of Pulse is for you to be able to measure with confidence, the impact of your in-store strategies & tactics on actual shopper behaviour. For example, if your strategy is to increase shelf engagment with shoppers and you have X number of tactics set up through the year to achieve these, Pulse will be your monthly read (pulse) on whether you are achieving your goals or not and which activities are more successful than others indoing so.

Deep Dive research is the interview with the shopper. It covers all aspects of why shoppers behave as they do, why they are buying what they do, why things have influenced them or why they are rejecting etc. It is an in-depth interview that really uncovers the why factor. Deep Dive research is on an annual cycle where categories are deep dived according to their frequency of change. For many categories, our clients are comfortable with a deep dive once every few years whereas others prefer a deep dive annually. There is a cost implication for higher frequency of deep dive.

What is the difference between Quantitative and Qualitative research?

What is the difference between Quantitative and Qualitative research?

There are a number of scholarly articles on this on the web if you've got the energy to read them however we found this a good layman's explanation.