The way we shop has changed drastically over the past few decades. Technology has reshaped how we research, compare, and ultimately buy the products we both need and just plain want. Thanks to ecommerce, it’s now possible to get all your errands run and purchases made without ever leaving the comfort of your couch. But what does the ever-evolving digital shopping experience mean for market researchers trying to collect shopper insights? Below we’ll explore a few of the latest advancements in shopping technology, and suggest a few ways researchers can adapt to the new means of data collection and analysis.
Video Analysis to Determine Wait Time
The Innovation: Kroger’s chief information officer Chris Hjelm only recently revealed this exciting advancement. Instead of the often frustrating process of taking a numbered ticket and hoping you hear when it’s called, Kroger is working on deploying video technology that could track when customers arrive and alert employees—like, say, the butcher or the pharmacist—to how long they’ve been waiting. The result would be more efficient service, increased productivity, and more satisfied customers.
The Research: Retailers looking to implement such technology could easily share their data with a market research partner to learn more about consumer behavior and attitudes while waiting. Pairing the video analysis with a qualitative in-store activity that explores perceptions of wait times and relevant pain points could also help to evaluate and improve the process.
The Innovation: If you’re a big fan of the speed and convenience offered by self-checkout, then you might be really excited about Amazon Go, Amazon’s cashier-free brick-and-mortar grocery store in Seattle. The store requires no checkout whatsoever—you simply grab what you want, put it in your bag, and the items are scanned and charged as you walk back out the door. The intriguing Just Walk Out Technology is an achievement for both machine learning and insanely long grocery lines.
The Research: Since the data of every purchase will be digitally recorded in the store’s system, researchers will no longer have to rely on consumers’ answers to questions about what they purchased, how much, or how often. And since shoppers will be bagging and carrying their items, research surrounding package design and materials for convenient and/or manageable transportation may prove relevant for grocery retail brands.
Digital Shopping Carts & Lists
The Innovation: Though online shopping carts and lists are already a staple of ecommerce, more stores are starting to tap into their potential for greater efficiency and target shopper marketing. For example, Kroger wants its consumers to use their ‘favorites’ list so they can send them relevant coupons and discounts. Other online retailers will alert you when an item is either scarce or restocked, while others examine your past purchases to inform recommendations for other products you may be interested in.
The Research: In this case, we’ve already done the research! In order to better understand what motivates brand/product additions or subtractions to digital shopping lists and carts, we conducted qualitative exploratory research to identify what factors impact the brands consumers choose when purchasing online, and what impacts their decision to stick with it or deviate for the next purchase. For the results of our research into ecommerce brand loyalty vs. user history, check out the executive summary below.