or those brands that leverage retail channels, in-store displays can represent among the highest impression messages and be a foundational cornerstone to marketing success. Goals for these displays can vary quite a bit: generating awareness, building brand equity, gaining entry into a consumer’s consideration set, or educating about products, to name just a handful. Ultimately though, the end play is often conversion to purchase.
Given their potential impact on both the brand and the bottom line, inviting consumers to provide feedback on displays during the design phase makes sense. Displays are, after all, created specifically for consumers, to catch their eye and help make their shopping easier. Why not let your customers offer their two cents? Early-stage feedback from target consumers before final forms are locked in can yield a wealth of high impact insights that can improve in-store appeal of your displays, refine the brand-story they convey, optimize their shop-ability, make navigation of their featured products more intuitive, and yes, improve their ability to convert browsers to buyers. Below is a rundown of qualitative research approaches that Accelerant Research has found to be especially impactful when it comes to retail prototype testing.
As with any qualitative work, setting the stage is key to a productive discussion, and this means engaging your participants before you invite them into a discussion. When it comes to display prototype research, a good first step is a self-guided shopping trip assigned before the core research event even takes place. During this self-scheduled “homework,” recruited participants are tasked with shopping your specific category and your specific products at one of the retailers that carries your brand and features your displays.
Such exercises allow for a natural shopping style without imposed time constraints and provide a wealth of information for your insights and marketing teams – photographs of displays, comments on packaging, videos of product selection, and collection of exhibits such as brochures and samples. Most importantly, they set the stage for a productive discussion: how well are your current displays working, what have your competitors got going on, and, from the perspective of your target customers, what are problems not yet solved and opportunities not yet realized in the aisle?
Following in-store shopping, your customers will then participate in moderated qualitative discussions where they share not only their thoughts on your current displays but then provide feedback on your new design prototypes with all that recent experiential context in mind. There are a few flavors to how these follow-up discussions can be designed depending on timeline, budget, stimuli available, and your team’s specific insights needs. Some of our preferred approaches for display prototype discussions are listed below:
If you’re considering conducting consumer listening on display prototypes your team is building, and we think you should, we invite you to reach out to us for more information. Give us a call (704-206-8500) or send us an email (email@example.com). We’d be happy to talk through your specific insights needs and make a recommendation tailored to fit. With our support and guidance in participant recruiting, technology/logistics management, and even moderating/full-service support, Accelerant Research can provide you impactful insights from your customers that will help you tailor your in-store presence to meet their needs best.
Imagine you are designing a study for a client who wants to have “readable” base sizes of certain key demographic groups represented in a survey, e.g., race and ethnicity. So, in order to accommodate, you set up the sample configuration such that Caucasians, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians each have a base size of 100 completes, such that your total sample size is n=400.
So far, so good. But then, your client wants you to test the significance of differences of each group against the total sample. Well, everything would be okay if each of these groups were equal in size in the population. Of course, they are not, so that means you can’t simply roll up the 400 respondents into one group and make straightforward comparisons to the separate groups. To solve for this issue, you decide to weight the data using population proportions of each group according to the latest census data available.
In essence, weighting data is like pulling taffy. For some groups, you only need to pull the taffy a little bit because their proportion in the sample is close to the population. In other groups, you will need to stretch the taffy more as they may be under-represented in the sample, relative to the population.
However, all kinds of trouble can occur at this stage of your otherwise well-designed study. You can apply weights to a data set that range way too large and way too small. You can apply the weight by assigning a proportion of one of the subgroups incorrectly. And you can apply the weight correctly and forget to read your crosstabs that show “Weighted Data.” When using weights, be warned that trouble is lurking around the corner if you are not careful and check your work before publishing the results to your client.
To begin, examine each individual weight being applied to each respondent’s data. If the weight being applied is greater than 2.0, you may be trying to pull that taffy too far, and it may snap. If the weight is close to 0.0, you are essentially eliminating that respondent’s data since anything multiplied by zero is zero. If you can stay within the range of 0.5 and 1.5, you are in good shape, and the taffy will be just right.
Whomever is handling your data processing, whether it is some crack technician that’s been running Quantum to produce crosstabs for years and years, or whether you are doing it yourself, double check your work. Believe us, these errors are made because they can be easily overlooked.
The worst error to make is by posting unweighted data to your report. Again, easy to do, but extremely costly to overcome. Your client will be hard pressed to process your invoice, and will probably never call you again for another study in the future. Check and double check your work. Better yet, have someone else check your work as most researchers I know can tell a story about having looked at something for so long, can not see errors they’ve made that are right under their nose.
Weighting data is surely the Achilles’ heel of market research. So, when you find yourself in a study in which applying weights is necessary, please be careful, stretch first, and don’t pull a muscle.
The insights industry conducts an enormous amount of research among consumers and end-users, but customer-facing sales processes are often overlooked as an insights goldmine. Accelerant Research has developed an invaluable qualitative research method for assessing the one-on-one selling process, which we call Sales Simulation Interviews. Although the setup, logistics, recruiting, and execution of such studies are incredibly involved, the premise of this research is quite simple…client observers and research team members get to witness actual simulated sales interactions between real sales associates and prospective customers, and then, after the simulated sales interaction concludes, individual moderator-led debrief interviews are conducted with each party (seller and sellee) to understand the nuanced perceptions and opinions of the process from all angles. Any organization with a sales arm can benefit from this type of study.
This methodology can be leveraged to achieve a number of different internal business objectives to:
Additionally, no matter what type of salesforce an organization has, we can design a Sales Simulation study to accommodate the natural sales environment, such as:
We invite you to reach out to us for more information about Sales Simulation Interviews. Simply give us a call (704-206-8500) or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). With our support and guidance in participant recruiting, technology/logistics management, and even moderating/full-service support, Accelerant Research can provide you with similarly successful and impactful insights.
The insights industry has long been aware of the power and richness of in-person ethnographic research. However, with compressed timelines, tight budgets, and social distancing, ethnographies can often be difficult to execute. As an alternative to in-person ethnographies, in recent years, the qualitative team at Accelerant Research has been called on, more and more, to conduct what we call Show & Tell Ethnographies, and with great success. Instead of sending an interviewer, observers, and videographer to a participant’s home or place of business, we rely on the ubiquity of webcam-based communications and the mobility of smartphones and tablets to enable participants to show us their interactions with a given product category or subject matter while telling us about their experiences during a live one-on-one webcam interview.
The sky is the limit with these types of studies, but here are some recent examples that we have successfully conducted:
We invite you to contact us for more information about these powerful Show & Tell Ethnographic interviews. Simply give us a call (704-206-8500) or send us an email (email@example.com). With our support and guidance in participant recruiting, technology/logistics management, and even moderating/full-service support, Accelerant Research can provide you with similarly successful and impactful insights.