So many ways to shop, so little time

As the purchase journey becomes more complex, the need for shopper insights at speed has increased.

At this time of year, shopping is high on my list of priorities. Some of my friends are able to shop throughout the year and calmly have everything purchased and wrapped by November. I am not one of those. I seem to need every last minute of December to research and purchase those perfect gifts.

So, I am grateful that there are so many ways to research, browse and shop at my finger tips. I can maximise my commute time, shop while cooking dinner and flit between devices. There are a multitude of channels open to us, from the more traditional bricks and mortar, through to social media. Like so many others, I choose a multi-channel approach when it comes to purchasing.

I also love the support I now get when shopping. The reviews allowing me to check I’m getting the ‘best’ thing, the ability to find the best deals and the gift suggestions – things that are just perfect for that wine lover, sport enthusiast, keen gardener etc. Those perfectly timed emails that prompt me to consider a retailer that wasn’t on my radar.

All this makes my life a little bit easier, but it does all culminate into a more complex path to purchase. I’m not sure what path I will take, when and how I will buy and from where, so where does that leave retailers? How can they identify the best time, place and method to influence shoppers?

As consumers, we are demanding more. Expectations are high. For basic products, we are looking for a quick and hassle free experience, whereas in other circumstances we want more than just products and services, we want experiences, we want to be wowed. For me, I’m a sucker for beautiful packaging. We are looking for brands to deliver the right level of personalization, making our experiences relevant and timely (rather than creepy), and rewarding the loyalty we give them in return.

Not an easy task.


Challenges for understanding the shopper

As the purchase journey becomes more complex our need to understand it increases, which raises some interesting research challenges:

  • We are looking to gain ever richer data from increasingly time poor consumers. Engagement is key to delivering high quality data
  • Speed is of the essence. To keep up with the pace of change and the competition, there is demand for research to be conducted faster than before, insight to be delivered and acted on as soon as possible
  • In an ‘experience economy’ we need to understand not only what people are thinking, but how they are feeling
  • Lastly, an age old challenge, distinguishing between what people say they do vs. what they actually do

"Digitization and the fast pace of changing market and consumer dynamics require fast, frictionless “real time” insights into a multitude of different areas for decision making, specifically customer-journey management and design." McKinsey Blog


Although there is a vast amount of data available on us as consumers, the challenge remains on how to use this to generate meaningful insight that drives businesses forward. Technology is part of the toolkit available, to mine and analyze this wealth of information.

39% of retailers ranked ‘Ability to turn customer data into intelligent and actionable insight’ one of their greatest challenges.

PwC & SAP Retailer Survey; Base: 312 What do you believe to be the greatest challenges your organisation faces in the race to meet customer expectations? 


Why video makes sense for shopper insights

Video is an immersive and engaging way to gain deeper insights from real shoppers, with the technology and tools to analyze content efficiently and share stories effectively.

  • Gain in-depth feedback on shopper missions and occasions to inform marketing strategies. It is easy and engaging for respondents to take part. Video can deliver at least 6 times as much information as an equivalent free text response
  • Witness shoppers’ behaviour in store and in-home, throughout the consideration and purchase stages. See what they actually do, not just what they say they do. Understand interactions with their environment
  • Gauge emotional reactions to products and environments in the moment, as they are evaluated. Find out how consumers are feeling with video and gain insight not just from what they are saying, but how they are saying it and their facial expressions
  • Content can feed directly into video insight platforms so viewing and initial analysis can begin during the fieldwork stage, helping you to uncover insight faster than before
  • Use video feedback to engage internal stakeholders and bring them closer to the shopper

If you're looking to gain deeper insights contact us today to find out how brands are using video for shopper insights.

You might also be interested in how to incorporate video into both qualitative and quantitative projects:

Qual or Quant? Video does it all

Qualitative video - why it makes sense and how to make sense of it

6 compelling reasons you should be using video questions in surveys