5 Reasons Why You Should Ditch Mall Research

With major retailers permanently closing their doors and consumers opting for online shopping (an issue only exacerbated by Coronavirus), the future for shopping malls is grim. 

According to CNBC,  25% of malls expected to close over the next 5 years. As mall foot traffic declines, that puts a hindrance on mall market research.

For decades, retailers relied on mall market research methodologies such as:

However, this type of market research may soon be a thing of the past. 

In this blog post, our research firm discusses 5 reasons you should consider ditching mall market research methodologies. 

Why You Should Ditch Mall Market Research

Reason #1: Mall Market Research Is Unpredictable

If you speak to any mall employee, they could likely tell you about the buying patterns, behaviors, and trends of their consumers. 

For instance, there are busy and slow periods that you can prepare for such as weekday vs. weekend hours. However, past trends are not a guarantee -- and certainly have changed from even two years ago. 

In some malls, an unexpected snowstorm can eliminate foot traffic, which eliminates any possibility of having an influx of potential participants going to the mall. 

An unexpected slow night means an important study falling behind. Even the busiest days of mall traffic do not guarantee willingness to participate, or qualification from respondents.

Recommended Reading: Consumer Behavior and Understanding, "Why Customers Buy?"

Reason #2: Options and Resources are Limited at Malls

Customer foot traffic is the biggest inhibitor of mall market research. Researchers can only obtain qualified completes if respondents are present and willing to answer qualifying screening questions.

However, even in the busiest malls, there is only so much a mall market research company can do. 

Many malls have strict guidelines that impact interviewers such as:

  • Limits on where recruiters can be.
  • Limits on how many recruiters can be present in the mall.
  • Restrictions on who they can approach and interview.

Mall restrictions are one thing, but facility capabilities are another. 

For example, a shortage of necessary equipment can deter the success of a mall market research study. 

If researchers have little access to computers, desks, appropriate staffing, and greater capacity, then they cannot capitalize on mall traffic.

Reason #3: Priority Matters Most for Mall Market Research

Limitations with foot traffic, mall guidelines, and facility capabilities cause mall recruiters to work on a priority basis.

For example, let’s say there are 10 market research studies being conducted in a mall.

Per mall guidelines, only two recruiters are allowed to be intercepting customers at a time. Additionally, there is only one computer available for both recruiters.

As a result, mall recruitment managers must make the decision of which studies are a priority and which should be put on the back burner.

How is a client deemed a priority? Repeat, higher-paying clients, or studies with a closer end date are typically given priority. 

However, recruiters have their preferences, too. Many times mall market research companies have a quota or goal recruiters must hit. 

To achieve this, many recruiters will focus on projects that are…

  • The easiest studies to complete
  • Paying respondents fewer rewards or incentives
  • Taking slightly longer than anticipate
  • Being slightly harder to qualify for 

These factors may make the difference between your project being actively recruited for, or ignored by recruiters.

Reason #4: Mall Market Research is More Expensive

As mentioned above, mall marketing research is unpredictable --and unfortunately, the clients pay the price. 

To make a profit on studies, mall market research facilities have to account for downtime. This means clients are paying a higher price for less work.

For example, clients still pay for project management time when recruiters are covering slow periods in the mall. It does not matter if people are being recruited or not. 

Another factor that makes mall research more expensive than other methodologies is the compensation for respondents. 

For mall market research, larger incentives are necessary because you are asking more of participants.

In most cases, interviewers ask consumers to drop what they’re doing and take time out of their shopping trip to complete a project. 

This method requires a larger cash incentive to generate interest, rather than the participants actually being interested in joining the study on their own.

Recommended Reading: What is the Most Cost-Effective Market Research Methodology?

Reason #5: Quality May Suffer with Mall Market Research

Take a moment to consider all the factors discussed so far in this market research blog. For these reasons, research firms often have to work with what they have to get the job done. 

As a result, many studies may result in lower-quality, unusable data, or less follow-through from participants. 

For instance, an issue often experienced with in-person intercepting is something I have called “guilt agreeing.” 

Though a participant is uninterested in the research study, they may go through the entire recruitment process with a recruiter. 

When it comes time to complete a survey or show up for additional appointments, that uninterest will show through data and a higher drop-out rate.

Final Thoughts: For Best Results Partner with a Third-Party Research Firm

Though there is always some level of unpredictability in market research, at Drive Research we have a tried-and-true method of recruiting participants for projects of varying difficulty. 

Our market research company places a focus on digital quantitative and qualitative recruiting. 

Drive Research utilizes various recruitments methods such as:

With our 30+ years of experience, we know how to quickly provide a sample of participants in the most cost-effective way -- without the restraint of equipment or facility capabilities. 

Instead, we find potential participants at their convenience. As a result, our team generates a higher interest in the research being conducted. 

Before selecting a market research company, watch this video to learn what factors you should consider first.

Conduct Market Research with Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research company located in New York.

Our qualitative recruitment team acquires large samples of interested participants in a short period of time. This gives us the ability to choose the highest-quality participants for your research projects.  

With our unique method of recruiting, as well as our rigorous follow-up and confirmation standards, we experience fewer drop-offs from participants.

This means higher show rates than other research firms you’ve previously worked with.

To learn more about services contact our team today! 

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040


Ashley Reynolds

With nearly 10 years of experience in market research, Ashley has worked on countless quantitative and qualitative research studies. As a Fieldwork Manager at Drive Research, she’s involved in every stage of the project, especially recruitment.

Learn more about Ashley, here.

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