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A Survey of Restaurant Customers Shows How Data Can Capture Emotions

Posted by MFour on Oct 2, 2018 6:00:00 AM

Blog fast food 28Sept18

Here’s a consumer insights finding from the world of quick-service restaurants (QSRs) that should resonate with marketers and researchers in other industries as well: it’s not just their wallets or taste buds that are driving consumers' choices. It's their emotions.

MFour fielded a mobile geolocation study and collected survey data from more than 2,000 GeoValidated® QSR customers of seven leading national brands. The results underscore how important it is for brands to understand the role emotion plays in propelling buying decisions.

Located and surveyed just after they'd left a QSR, respondents were asked their single most important reason for choosing that brand on that day. They were given 18 possible motivations, and picked just one. Having a “craving” for their choice's offerings – a completely emotional experience – was the highest-ranking answer. 

  • 23% chose “I was craving” [the brand].
  • 18% chose “it was the most convenient for me today.”
  • 15% chose “[the brand] is affordable.”

Respondents had been drawn almost equally from among the seven QSR brands, and were geolocated at a store. They were required to complete the questionnaire within 24 hours. 

Unlocking the emotional component of buying decisions – the cravings, sense of excitement, urgency, or other feelings that loom so large – requires these three indispensable inputs:

  • GPS-powered mobile geolocation technology that’s a unique capability of smartphones
  • An all-mobile, first-party consumer panel whose members can be located in the right places at the right time so they can respond to mobile surveys while emotions are still fresh.
  • A state-of-the art mobile survey app.

The Surveys On The Go® app gives you all three. If you’re ready right now to talk about how in-app mobile research capabilities can put you in touch with shoppers' emotions to gain the fullest understanding and achieve your brands' business goals, just click here. And if you'd like to take a deeper-dive into how it works, read on. 

A validated, representative mobile consumer panel is paramount.  More than 2.5 million U.S. consumers have download Surveys On The Go® (SOTG), motivated by the opportunity to take part in research while earning cash rewards. In-app mobile surveys gratify respondents' entrenched desire to have seamlessly engaging experiences on their smartphones.

  • Once they’ve downloaded SOTG, users give their informed permission to let the app access to their phones’ location services, so they can be tracked through all their buying journeys and qualify for location-specific studies.
  • Location studies such as the QSR survey track consumers' natural store visits and identify them as soon as they have arrived at a place that’s relevant to the research project at hand. 
  • Once detected in a desired location, consumers receive an in-app push notification alerting them to a survey opportunity.
  • The push can arrive while they're still in the store, or just after they've left; in-store surveys document the shopping experience prior to purchase, and after-visit surveys also capture the purchase itself.
  • Either way, researchers are reaching respondents at the Point of Emotion® at which buying decisions come to a head.
  • Expect response rates of 25% within an hour, and 50% within 24 hours -- compared to the industry norm of 1% to 5%. The differentiator is the unique mobile-app experience.

In the case of the QSR preferences study, respondents were required to complete the survey within 24 hours of their visit. There’s little point in asking a QSR customer the most important reason for his or her visit more than 24 hours after the fact. By then, the Point of Emotion® is long gone, and any response will be rife with recall bias. Ask yourself whether you can remember your most recent visit to a QSR, and state your most important reason for choosing it. If you're not an extremely loyal, extremely frequent customer of a particular brand, you might struggle to answer.

To sum up:

The only way to get a fully-recalled, emotionally-informed understanding of consumers’ preferences and motivations is in-app mobile research with an engaged, first-party mobile panel.

If you have a craving for this kind of data, let's talk. Just click here.

Topics: consumer experience, quick serve restaurants, consumer insights, geolocation, market research, mobile surveys

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