There are a variety of shopper insight techniques which can be tailored depending on what a company is looking to understand and what resources they have available.
There are many traditional research techniques that are used for shopper insights. These traditional techniques include online surveys, focus groups, intercept interviews, shopper observations and shop-alongs. Retailers also use shopper data to supplement custom research. Big data has made available at relatively low-cost huge troves of information about shoppers, although it can be challenging to interpret them using the data alone. Retailers also have panel or loyalty data that can serve as foundational type information.
Technologies, such as eye tracking are effective tools to measure what shoppers look at and engage with in-store. A shopper’s pathway through a store can be mapped to help inform hot and cold zones in-store. Eye tracking can also effectively be used for online shopping to measure where shoppers are looking versus measuring clicks alone. AI is also a new area of shopper insights where facial coding can be utilized in-store to measure shopper reactions throughout the shopping journey and then identify areas of strong engagement and areas of opportunity.
Shopper insight executed by a manufacturer are often done in combination with a retailer. This collaborative approach can provide a holistic approach of the shopper journey. An often-overlooked technique for getting quickly to shopper insights is a partner model where non-competing firms can partner up on a study and so reduce its costs through sharing them.
In most cases, there is no single right approach. A blend of techniques will be best depending on the business goal and overall research objectives. Typically, one research tool will only provide a piece of the answer. A blending approach of behavioral, attitudinal and emotional techniques helps to better uncover the insights that will drive behavior.