Research methods: Accompanied Shopping

Accompanied shopping research can be conducted in order to observe in-store interactions with products and brands and gauge consumer reactions to elements such as packaging in order to analyse how it affects decision making and purchasing.

Why conduct accompanied shopping research?
Accompanied shopping research can be conducted in order to observe in-store interactions with products and brands and gauge consumer reactions to elements such as packaging in order to analyse how it affects decision making and purchasing.

Accompanied shopping sessions can be used to:

  • Gain insights for new product development
  • Understand how product location within stores affects purchasing behaviour. Which aisles do consumers tend to visit? Do consumers navigate the different aisles and make comparisons or do they already know where to find their usual purchased product/s?
  • Understand the drivers and influencers behind in-store purchases. Is a purchase spontaneous or is it a well thought out decision/choice? Is a purchase dependant on an occasion? How does packaging, range availability, brand, freshness, display, and price affect purchasing behaviour
  • Experience in-situ and in real-time exactly how a consumer shops. What products is a consumer drawn to? How do they navigate the store? How do they observe and interact with the fixtures and the products?

How do we recruit for accompanied shopping?

Our team of specialist recruiters will recruit using a short recruitment questionnaire to ensure participants meet the necessary criteria. Respondents fitting the criteria will be invited to take part in an accompanied shop with a researcher on a specified date. We then follow up recruitment with a courtesy phone call to confirm that the respondent fits the necessary criteria and is ready to attend the accompanied shop. Respondents are often incentivised in order to encourage participation and show that we value their feedback and time.

We work closely with clients to develop a guide to aid the direction of the discussion and ensure coverage of the research objectives, while allowing natural conversation to flow between the respondent and researcher, which may uncover fresh lines of conversation. The semi-structured nature of the guide also allows the researcher to gauge reactions and responses, and to tailor the discussion according to the individual responses obtained.

How do we conduct accompanied shopping?

There are generally 3 phases to data collection:

• The introduction (5 minutes):
This will take place in a venue (coffee shop or restaurant) close to the store where the accompanied shop‘s happening. The researcher will introduce the research project to the participants and provide them with a checklist of prompts to consider during their shop, such as: The location/aisle to visit, choice of products available, the appeal of the display and packaging (including visibility through the packaging), brand positioning, range available, brand/individual packaging etc.

• The accompanied shop (15 minutes):
A researcher will accompany the participant as they visit the relevant areas of the store and follow their purchase decision journey, informed by the prompt list introduced to the participant before the shop. Participants may be encouraged to make a purchase in order to provoke a genuine thought-process. If the relevant area of the store is not visited the participant will be prompted.

• The post-shop interview (15 minutes):
This will cover the themes in the prompt list in more detail, which may include locations within the store, attractiveness and quality of the display, choice of product, attractiveness of product, final purchase decision, expectations regarding the location of product/s, and factors that would encourage movement towards product/s.

With the participants’ permission, the shops will be audio and video recorded from their point of view using our X-ray specs. This will give us audio and visual insights to enrich our analysis. Respondents may also wear a personal camera whilst shopping in order to capture their journey and deliberations visually. The post-shop interview will also be digitally recorded to aid later analysis.

Insight – What do you get?

Audio and video footage from the shop will then be reviewed and analysed by our researchers. Records from the interview element of the accompanied shop will also be transcribed. These will then be reviewed and key themes drawn out for reporting, illustrated as appropriate by direct quotations.

Want to know more? Submit an enquiry using the form or call us on 01434 611160 and a member of the team will be in touch.

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“We’ve worked with Dipsticks Research for several years to conduct a number of ad testing and brand tracking research projects. They’re adaptable and easy to work with and always manage projects efficiently.”

Health & Beauty Group Brand Manager | Church & Dwight