In-Store Observation is a research technique that is used to gain insights from shoppers in a retail environment. It involves observing real shoppers to understand their behaviour and how they interact with fixtures/product displays etc. in-store. The advantage of observation is that it is purely passive and does not interrupt the shopper; so ensures that only natural behaviours are recorded. However, as there is no contact or discussion with the shopper, motivations behind observed behaviours need to be interpreted.
There are different techniques for in-store observation:
- Trained observers – a trained researcher is placed in the store and records shopper data based on a pre-defined set of criteria. Our approach to this is called Engage Lite and is offered by Retail Performance
- Fixed cameras – are installed to record shopper behaviour over time. The advantage is a bigger data set (continuous monitoring) but unstructured shopper behaviour needs to be interpreted/coded. Our approach to this is called Shopper Engage and is offered by Retail Performance. Big Sofa also offer coding of video to share and understand different elements of shopper behaviour.
Intercepts are useful because you can capture behaviour in the moment. This may differ from claimed behaviour in terms of how shoppers tell us they behave in a retail environment. As with in-store intercepts, observation by a trained observer requires retailer permission.
Black Friday: Shifting its Centre of Gravity
Ahead of Black Friday 2018, Tim Denison traces the history of a retail event that has evolved into a global phenomenon. But what is different now to previous years, what can retailers learn, and what shape can we expect Black Friday to take in the future?