Sometimes in market research, reliance on a respondent’s memory just won’t do the trick to get the true answers. This is usually most true for research that requires many fine details or focuses on interactions with surroundings, like shopping research.
Simulations do a better job of evoking the mindset of a real-world experience for participants but can still suffer from feeling too artificial. In cases like these, the best methodology is often an Accompanied Shopping Trip (AST).
Also known as a shop-along, an Accompanied Shopping Trip is a market research methodology in which a moderator shadows a consumer on a shopping journey in a store. During the event, the moderator may conduct an in-depth interview concerning decision-making or attitudes towards products on display.
In this post, I’ll cover how an Accompanied Shopping Trip works and highlight a few key benefits for a retailer or manufacturer.
An Accompanied Shopping Trip gives you the advantage of understanding the behaviors and attitudes of consumers within the store setting.
How Does an Accompanied Shopping Trip Work?
Participants for an Accompanied Shopping Trip are recruited similarly to how they might be for a focus group or in-person interview. Consumers are screened to find those who meet the qualifying criteria for the project, then scheduled for a date and time if they fit the bill.
The engagement may either start at a specified store location or at the participant’s residence. Beginning at the residence may be a good option for the moderator and participant to become more familiar with each other before the experience. Part of the research may also involve the thought process of a consumer during the travel to the store.
The moderator will usually have a question guide to probe for insights at different points in the shopping experience. There is also the option to record data as the moderator passively observes the participant shop. In either case, a video recording of the experience can be used to refer back to the trip. However, it is crucial to receive the approval of the store manager before conducting any research in the store.
What Do You Gain From an Accompanied Shopping Trip?
Unlike other research, an Accompanied Shopping Trip captures authentic consumer feedback in the context of a real shopping environment. Behaviors true to the experience can be observed and every step can be recorded. The moderator has the ability to investigate details about purchasing decisions in real-time.
Those most interested in completing ASTs are often retailers or product manufacturers. A company can see exactly how its brand is viewed among competition and other products alike. The moderator can understand the role of factors like promotions, labelling, or positioning in the eyes of the consumer.
Accompanied Shopping Trips also present the opportunity to learn about the shopping process for the location as a whole. Moderators can track the path of the participant throughout the store by section or department. The research can dig into the impact of the store layout and any current in-store displays.
Contact Our Accompanied Shopping Trip Company
Drive Research is an accompanied shopping trip company in NY. We have the capability to plan, recruit, moderate, and report for shop-alongs in stores locally or nationwide.
Questions about an upcoming project? Contact us below.