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An overview of Consumer research - Methods

Rajiv Bagayatkar

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Topic: Consumer Research Overview


Learning objective: At the end of this training course, participants will have a sound application understanding of the common
quantitative and qualitative research techniques/tools.

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Topics Covered
1. Role of Consumer Research 2. Overview of Consumer Research Techniques 3. Qualitative Techniques
Focus Group Discussions In-depth Interviews Projective techniques Observation Ethnography F2F Telephone Online Mobile Observation

4. Quantitative Techniques

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Role of research in different stages of a brand

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Stages of a brand
Prior to launch During /immediately after launch Post launch Revival/restage

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Pre launch
Industry/market scanning to narrow down options Secondary data search Retail panel data Consumer panel data Syndicated studies Demand estimation and forecasting studies

To study the short listed options

U&A / H&A Market mapping exercise Delta Qual

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Pre launch
New Product development
Idea generation & concept development

Brain storming Creativity groups(Synectics) General consumer studies (U&A, Qualitative) Ethnography/observation

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Pre launch
New Product development

Idea/concept screening

Concept tests (Qualitative&/quantitative)


(Concepts@work)

Pre Bases

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Pre launch
Developing the marketing mix
Product

Sensory panels Consumer product tests Pack tests (packs@work) Pseudo product tests Semiotics &qualitative research

Packaging

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Pre launch
Developing the marketing mix
Pricing

Pricing research (BPCM,CBC, PIR) Pricing information collected with other studies viz concept tests, product tests Sabine

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Pre launch
Developing the marketing mix
Distribution

Retail census Retail audit data M&A services

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Pre launch
Developing the marketing mix Communication development
Segmentation and positioning

Creative development

U&A, Segmentation studies Qualitative research Qualitative research

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Pre launch
Developing the marketing mix Communication development
Advertising testing Media Planning

Qualitative research ads@work Pressure test NRS TAM Radio listenership studies /panels Hoarding effectiveness

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Pre launch

Evaluating the total offer

Total offer tests BASES ACN forecasting Test Marketing

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Post launch
Post launch monitoring
Overall in market performance

Campaign effectiveness

Retail panel data (special short term panels & regular panel data) Consumer panel data Dipstick studies Brand tracking DAR Ad tracking TAM

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Post launch
Maintenance
Monitoring brand health and performance

Customer satisfaction Trade satisfaction

Brand health studies (WB) Ad tracking and modeling (ARM) Retail panel data Consumer panel data Product test and Pricing studies Customer eQ Mystery shopping Trade eQ

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Post launch
Revival/ Repositioning/ Restaging

U&A Segmentation and positioning research BASES Re-stager

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Overview of Consumer Research Techniques

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

A research project may need one or both of these.

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Data that have been collected by researcher for the specific purpose of a research project.

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Data that have been collected by someone else. Important criteria: relevance, reliability, recency.

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Data that are already available within the client organisation. Sales data, database of customer transactions

Internal

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Data that are readily available from MR/ consultancy organisation. Newspapers, business journals, the Internet,
External

Internal

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Examples: Path followed in a supermarket, behaviour in respect of reading pack labels.


External

Internal Observation

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Involves seeking information by asking questions, as per the information needed


External

Internal
Interviewing

Observation

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Internal Interviewing Observation

External

Provides important insights in understanding why consumers behave or feel the way they do Allow us to identify and understand relevant behaviour patterns, opinions, and motivations Helps us formulate hypotheses for further exploration or quantification Enable us add richness to the findings of quantitative research
Examples: Generation of ideas to search for suitable positioning platform Short-listing communication concepts from among a very large number of alternatives, to reject utterly bad options

Qualitative

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Internal Interviewing Observation

External

Produces results that are projectable We are able to add the dimension of how many we are talking about Is based on a scientifically drawn sample of the universe population Able to attach statistical rigidity to the findings
Examples: Which of these two alternative product concepts is the better one to launch? How does our product compare against that of the competitor?

Qualitative

Quantitative

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

When the universe is of infinite size


External

Internal Interviewing Observation

Sample survey Qualitative Quantitative

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

When the universe size is a small finite number


External

Internal Interviewing Observation

Sample survey Qualitative Quantitative

Census

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Internal Interviewing Observation

External

Administered by interviewer; door-to-door survey/ central location/ mall intercept Pen-and-paper or CAPI (computer-assisted personal interviewing).

Sample survey Qualitative Quantitative

Census

Face-toface

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Self-completion Sample drawn from a panel of online respondents


External

Internal Interviewing Observation

Sample survey Qualitative Quantitative

Census

Face-toface

Online survey

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Interviewer administered May or may not use CATI (computer-assisted telephonic interviewing)
External

Internal Interviewing Observation

Sample survey Qualitative Quantitative

Census

Face-toface

Online survey

Telephonic

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Self-completion Examples: Survey questionnaire inserted in a magazine; customer feedback forms.


External

Internal Interviewing Observation

Sample survey Qualitative Quantitative

Census

Face-toface

Online survey

Telephonic

Postal survey

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Self-completion Limited to business-to-business research or other surveys involving corporate respondents


External

Internal Interviewing Observation

Sample survey Qualitative Quantitative

Census

Face-toface

Online survey

Telephonic

Postal survey

Fax survey

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Self-completion Pre-recorded questions. Responses through pressing appropriate keys.


External

Internal Interviewing Observation

Sample survey Qualitative Quantitative

Census

Face-toface

Online survey

Telephonic

Postal survey

Fax survey

IVR (Interactive Voice Response)

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Limited to very short, quick surveys very small number of questions Sample maybe from panel of respondents
External

Internal Interviewing Observation

Sample survey Qualitative Quantitative

Census

Face-toface

Online survey

Telephonic

Postal survey Mobile survey

Fax survey

IVR Interactive
Voice Response

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Discussion among around eight respondents conducted by moderator. Use of projective techniques to get responses indirectly.
External

Internal Interviewing Observation

Sample survey Qualitative Quantitative

Census

Group discussion

Face-toface

Online survey

Telephonic

Postal survey Mobile survey

Fax survey

IVR Interactive
Voice Response

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Consumer Research

Primary

Secondary

Internal Interviewing Observation

External

Discussion with one or small set of related respondents conducted by experienced researcher Unstructured format, flexible (unlike in quantitative research)

Sample survey Qualitative Quantitative

Census

Group discussion

In-depth interview

Face-toface

Online survey

Telephonic

Postal survey Mobile survey

Fax survey

IVR Interactive
Voice Response

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2. Qualitative Techniques

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Qualitative Techniques
1. Focus Group Discussions 2. In-depth Interviews 3. Projective techniques 4. Observation 5. Ethnography

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1. Focus Group Discussions


What is it?
A Focus Group Discussion (FGD) is a technique for obtaining ideas or solutions to a marketing issue by conducting a discussion with a group of consumers. The classic FGD involves one group leader (moderator) and eight participants (respondents). However, it is also quite common to conduct FGDs with two moderators and anywhere from four to twelve respondents. FGDs are used to identify and explore behaviour, attitudes and processes, and address the why, what and how questions. FGDs are used when the topic is not sensitive and respondents are happy to share their views publicly. FGDs are used when the objective is to cover a breadth rather than a depth of information.

When is it used?

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1. Focus Group Discussions


How does it work?
Respondents are recruited using experienced recruiters, who identify respondents who fit a particular demographic profile e.g., 19-25 year old males & females who have consumed cola flavoured beverages in the past 7 days. A FGD will normally last between 1-3 hours and works on the interaction and synergy between the moderator and the respondents. The moderator/s guide the discussion using a Discussion Guide a list of topics that address the research objectives. A global financial institution wishes to launch a credit card into a developing Asian market where credit card penetration is less than 2%. They commission a series of FGDs with affluent 25-39 year olds to determine the level of understanding of how credit cards work and top level reactions to a number of different credit card concepts.

Example?

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2. In-depth Interviews
What is it?
In-depth Interviews (IDIs) are also referred to as Depth Interviews. IDIs are a qualitative research method designed to generate in-depth information through a face-to-face interview between a researcher and a respondent. IDIs are typically employed when the target respondents are difficult to assemble in a central location (e.g., Senior Executives), are geographically dispersed or the topic is confidential or sensitive.

When is it used?

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2. In-depth Interviews
How does it work?
Respondents can be recruited from the general population, but quite commonly the respondents for IDIs are recruited from client lists (i.e., made up of members, clients, users etc). Like FGDs, the IDI is structured around a Discussion Guide and usually take place in a location that is convenient for the respondent. A large national company has a contract to supply IT services to a large national airline company. The end users of the IT service are interviewed using a quantitative methodology; however, the Senior Executives are recruited from a list provided by the client and interviewed for their impressions of the service; strengths, weaknesses and areas for development using IDIs. The interviews lasted for up to 1-hour and were conducted at a time and location of their choosing (usually in their own office).
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Examples?

Techniques used in conjunction with FGDs & IDIs


While conducting Focus Group Discussions or In-depth Interviews, it can be advantageous to ask questions indirectly; using Projective Techniques, Observation or Ethnographic Techniques.

Focus Groups & In-depth Interviews

Projective Techniques

Qualitative Observation

Ethnographic Techniques

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3. Projective Techniques
What is it?
Projective techniques typically ask a respondent to interpret or explain an ambiguous object, activity or person. The more ambiguous the stimulus, the more respondents have to project themselves onto the task, thereby revealing hidden feelings and opinions. Projective techniques are typically used during a FGD or IDI when it is believed that the respondent will not or cannot respond meaningfully to a direct question about the reason for certain behaviours or attitudes. Respondents may be (1) unaware of their feelings or opinions, (2) unwilling to admit to something that may reflect badly on them or (3) too polite to respond in a negative fashion.

When is it used?

Source: Aaker, Kumar, Day & Lawley (2005). Marketing Research.

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3. Projective Techniques
How does it work?
Projective Techniques were popularised by Freudian Psychoanalysts with the use of the Rorscharch Inkblot Test and Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) which required people to interpret the inkblot or create a story about people in a range of ambiguous situations. Modern projective techniques therefore require respondents to react to ambiguous stimuli and project their feelings and attitudes rather than being asked directly. More commonly used Projective Techniques include:
Personification (e.g., if this brand was a person, what would they be like?) Creating Analogies (e.g., if this brand were a car, what kind of car would it be?) Word Association (e.g., respondents provide a word or phrase in response to the moderators word or phrase) Role Play (e.g., imagine you are the CEOhow would you promote this product to people like yourself?)

Example?

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4. Qualitative Observation
What is it?
Sometimes consumers intended behaviour (such as purchase intention) or recollections of their behaviour (e.g., all of the steps involved in preparing a certain meal) do not completely match with their actual behaviour. Qualitative Observation is when a small number of consumers are observed doing something such as shopping or preparing a meal rather than being asked about the same behaviour. Qualitative Observation is typically used to explore a topic that is not well understood or where the behaviour may have become habitual. Qualitative Observation may also be used in conjunction with other Qualitative techniques or as an exploratory exercise prior to a Quantitative project.
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When is it used?

4. Qualitative Observation
How does it work?
Qualitative Observation works in a number of different ways including:
Observing someone shopping without them knowing they are being observed. Sitting quietly in the background while someone prepares a meal or washes the clothes. Sitting behind the 2-way mirror while a mother and child interact with a new toy.

Example?

Nielsens SmartShelf Shopper Module uses Qualitative Observation:


How do shoppers navigate through the store? Do they have a list and are they heading to specific sections or do they follow the aisles / browse through the store? Which categories do they begin with? How do they move from category to category? Do they look at the signage for each aisle or are they looking for specific brands within the aisle?

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5. Ethnographic Techniques
What is it?
Ethnographic Techniques were originally developed by anthropologists and sociologists to describe a society, group or culture. In an Ethnographic study the researcher is immersed in the respondents environment to understand and describe a group of interacting people. Ethnographic Techniques are typically used when the researcher wishes to understand and observe behaviour in a real-life situation such as interacting with colleagues at work, interacting with family members at home or when the respondent is socialising with peers in a particular social setting.

When is it used?

Source: Aaker, Kumar, Day & Lawley (2005). Marketing Research.

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5. Ethnographic Techniques
How does it work?
Ethnographic Techniques involve a researcher being immersed into a respondents setting to observe their interactions with a group of individuals. Ethnographic Techniques may also be used in conjunction with self-completion diaries, observation or informal interviews. An international beer maker wishes to launch a new beer into a developing market. Experienced researchers were immersed in a real-life drinking session at a local bar with the respondent and a few of his friends. The researcher was able to observe a number of key behaviours that may not have been accessible by regular interviewing such as who purchased the first round of drinks, who decided which brand to drink, whether the group stayed with the one brand all night, how much and what type of food was consumed while drinking etc. The researcher can follow-up the observation with informal questioning.
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Example?

3. Quantitative Techniques

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Quantitative Techniques
1. F2F 2. Telephone 3. Online 4. Mobile 5. Observation

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1. Face-to-Face Interviewing
What is it?
Face-to-face interviewing is typically conducted between an interviewer and person either in the persons home or in a central location such as a market or shopping centre. Face-to-face interviewing is ideal when there is a need to explain complicated issues as the respondent is able to ask questions and provide feedback. It is also suitable when visual stimuli are used to evaluate a new product or advertising execution. If the interview is conducted door-to-door, there is also the advantage of the respondent feeling more comfortable in their own environment. Shopping Centre interviewing (sometimes referred to as intercepts) is common when it is necessary for the respondent to see, feel or taste something.
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When is it used?

1. Face-to-Face Interviewing
How does it work?
Both door-to-door and intercept interviewing are conducted according to a pre-determined sampling frame. That is, interviewers may approach, say, every fourth house in a particular street or area, or intercept, say, every third person walking through a certain part of a shopping centre. If the person agrees, the interviewer then administers the questionnaire. Participation in face-to-face interviewing can be made more appealing by providing the respondent with an incentive (such as a small gift or cash). Face-to-face interviewing is quite expensive in developed markets and is therefore no longer very common. However, in developing markets, face-toface interviewing (particularly door-to-door) is still the most common methodology for all types of quantitative studies.
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Example?

2. Telephone Interviewing
What is it?
Telephone Interviewing, also referred to as CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing), typically involves the interviewing of respondents over the phone from a central location under supervision from fieldwork supervisors. As the cost of face-to-face interviewing increased in developed markets, CATI became the fieldwork technique of choice for the following reasons:
No time required for travel so more interviews can be conducted in the same time period. High penetration of telephones in most markets. Better access to people in apartments or properties with external security (preventing interviewers from reaching them). Better access to working people who may not be at home during the day.
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When is it used?

2. Telephone Interviewing
How does it work?
After the questionnaire is developed by the researchers and programmed into the computer software, phone numbers are automatically dialed using either a database (such as the White Pages) or using random sequences of phone numbers. People who answer the phone are provided with a brief introduction about the study and then invited to participate. If the person agrees to participate, the interviewer enter the respondents answers directly into the computer software. In developed markets, telephone interviewing virtually replaced face-to-face interviewing and was therefore used across the full spectrum of project types (e.g., ad hoc, tracking, syndicated etc.) and across all industries, categories and demographic groups.

Example?

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3. Online Interviewing
What is it?
Online interviewing involves the completion of a questionnaire over the internet (or intranet) by respondents who:
Are members of an online panel (e.g., Nielsens Your Voice Panel). Are contained on a membership or customer list provided by a Client. Click on a banner ad inviting them to participate in a survey. Respond to an intercept invitation while they are viewing a particular website.

When is it used?

Online interviewing is commonly used in markets where internet penetration amongst the target respondents is sufficiently high to be considered representative.

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3. Online Interviewing
How does it work?
When using a Nielsen Online Panel or Client List, the questionnaire is created in the local market and sent to one of the online programming teams. After the questionnaire has been programmed, a link to the questionnaire is sent back to the local market for testing. Email invitations are then sent to the respondents with a link to the online questionnaire (which are hosted on Nielsen servers in Australia). Nielsen recently won a pitch for a continuous online brand & advertising tracker with modules for evaluating awareness & perceptions of a range of marketing activities for major Retailer in Australia. The study is conducted amongst main grocery buyers who are members of Nielsens Your Voice Panel. Invitations are sent daily with topline weekly reporting and detailed monthly reporting.
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Example?

4. Mobile Interviewing
What is it?
Mobile Interviewing involves the use of SMS technology to ask users survey questions via their mobile phone. Mobile Interviewing is most effective when the potential respondent is a customer or member of a panel so that it is possible to link the persons responses to other demographic and usage data (captured via a longer online or telephone interview). Nielsen Mobile outlines that Mobile Interviewing is used for real-time mobile phone usage (e.g., usage of applications, pre-paid top-up behaviour, downloading of games etc) or for short specific topic surveys (e.g., awareness of special offers).

When is it used?

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4. Mobile Interviewing
How does it work?
Potential respondents who are part of a customer list or a member of a panel are either:
Sent an SMS to which they reply with responses to a short survey (ideally up to three questions), or Called on their mobile with an automated message inviting them to participate in a survey. If they agree they are typically asked up to 10 questions by entering their answers via their mobile phone keypad.

Example?

A major mobile provider in a developing Country (where the majority of mobile users are pre-paid) is keen to measure the impact of a marketing campaign. They commission Nielsen to SMS interview n=200 mobile users per day (from Nielsens Your Voice Panel) to measure awareness of the campaign and intention to take-up the offer. Nielsen provides fast turn-around results to enable the provider to measure the effectiveness of different channels throughout the campaign.

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5. Quantitative Observation
What is it?
As mentioned previously in relation to Qualitative Observation, sometimes consumers intended behaviour or recollections of their behaviour do not completely match with their actual behaviour. Quantitative Observation is when a larger sample of consumers are systematically observed doing something (such as shopping) by trained observers who record specific characteristics and behaviours. Quantitative Observation is typically used to explore a topic where respondents behaviour may have become habitual, or where a basic measure of behaviour may be of interest (e.g., traffic flow in a supermarket or bank). Like Qualitative Observation, Quantitative Observation may be used in conjunction with other methodologies / techniques as part of a broader research agenda.

When is it used?

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5. Quantitative Observation
How does it work?
Quantitative Observation can be Direct or Indirect:
Direct Observation involves the researcher observing a person engaging in some kind of behaviour (such as shopping) OR where the researcher plays the role of a consumer in a shop or other service exchange (e.g., bank - This kind of observation is commonly referred to as Mystery Shopping). Indirect Observation is where behaviour is implied; for example, the incidence of alcohol consumption may be estimated by the presence of empty bottle in the garbage.

Example?

The SmartShelf Shopper Module uses Quantitative Observation to investigate issues such as:
How do shoppers respond to activation activities? What are the implications of shopping habits for POS? Where should POS be positioned to take advantage of maximum traffic flow?

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Thank you

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