Mobile News Mix

Don't Let Young Adults Go Under-represented in Your Consumer Surveys

Posted by MFour on Apr 2, 2019 6:00:00 AM

All market research consumer panels are not created equal. Only those that reliably represent the segments most relevant to a brand’s success are worth using. 

Less understood is the decisive role research technology and survey methodology play in determining whether a given study will include enough of the right respondents to reflect consumer reality.

Here’s a brief summary of recently published results from an online market research study that illustrates how online methodology is falling short when it comes to demographic representation of key Millennial and Gen Z consumers.

Project: A trade association that represents producers of a food that’s a staple of grocery stores’ fresh-produce departments sought data on U.S. consumers' attitudes, purchase frequency and purchase-drivers for the fresh-food item.

Methodology: A quantitative, nationwide survey that collected about 2,000 completes over the course of about two weeks, obtained from an online panel. Qualifiers were consumers who stated that they play a role in shopping for their household’s groceries.

Segmentation: Using screening questions, the study identified respondents by a variety of demographic categories, including age, sex, race/ethnicity, household income and education.

Shortfall: Only 2% of respondents in the produce-shopping study were ages 18-24. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 9.4% of Americans are ages 18 to 24 – nearly five times as many as were represented in the survey.

Meanwhile, 40% of the study's respondents were 55 and older, when they actually make up 29% of the U.S. adult population. 

The numbers don't align with reality because online research approach is increasingly incapable of fully including the key younger age groups. Pew Research Center reports that 94% of Americans ages 18 to 29 own smartphones, and 28% in that group are “smartphone dependent,” the term for consumers who rely solely on their phones to access the internet. That means more than a quarter of younger Millennials and Gen Z consumers in their late teens and early 20s are off the radar for online studies.

In-app mobile research is much more efficient and capable of representing younger consumers. Here's why:

  • Mobile-app surveys are  congruent with their lifestyles: smartphones and mobile apps are Millennials' and Gen Z's preferred portals for receiving information and expressing ideas and opinions.
  • They are naturally more inclined to take surveys on their phones, as long as the experience is technologically smooth and problem-free.
  • Mobile-app methodology also is a gateway to GPS location-tracking of consumers who give informed consent to have their movements observed from store to store.
  • These known, first-party consumers can then be surveyed inside the store or just after they've left. The researcher gets firm validation that they are actually shopping for groceries, and the ultimate payoff is the rich, reliable data captured at the Point Of Emotion® where buying decisions are made and recall is most reliable.

The key advantage of advanced, in-app mobile research is its ability to combine always-on observational data with survey data to give researchers a rich understanding of validated, first-party consumers. It's the only way to reach them in their natural, mobile-app environment for peak engagement and top-quality survey data.

For an example of in-app mobile's ability to reach younger adults, read about MFour’s 2016 Millennials project, which documented that generation’s opinions about entertainment, money and technology. It demonstrates  the ease and speed with which in-app mobile research can access representative numbers of adults in their mid-thirties and younger.

Another project, on validated shoppers’ experiences on Black Friday, 2018, illustrates the benefits of mobile GeoLocation studies. In that case, consumers were located inside one of five top retailers on Black Friday, then received a survey via their Surveys On The Go® app as soon as they were observed leaving the store. Click here for an infographic on the Black Friday findings.

To sum up: researchers seeking insights from grocery shoppers or consumers who are shopping in-store for any other product category can now use mobile location-journey data to find validated, first-party research participants who meet their demographic criteria, with young adults well within reach. There's no need to settle for a non-representative fraction of the young consumers whose preferences are already shaping the product and retail landscape and will continue to dominate for decades to come.

Topics: in-app Mobile surveys, mobile consumer panel, always-on data, observational data, retail research, mobile geolocation

MFour Announces ProductCheck™ for Validated, Colorful In-Store Insights into Product Placement, Packaging and Preferences

Posted by MFour on Mar 20, 2019 5:39:00 PM

MFour Mobile Research introduces ProductCheck™, a new offering that captures mobile market research panel members' opinions and feelings about products and displays at the exact moment they are standing in store aisles looking at them.

By locating and then surveying validated, first-party mobile consumers, brands and researchers get immediate, trustworthy data on product placement and visibility, whether packaging stands out and attracts, and whether the product’s in-the-moment shelf appeal is sufficient to influence intent to purchase. Clients also gain in-depth intelligence on how shoppers perceive competing products and brands. Researchers come away with a confident understanding of how well the product stands out when surrounded by other products in the same category.

“ProductCheck™ helps brands position themselves for greater market share by combining observed location data with event-triggered surveys that measure products’ on-shelf visibility and appeal,” said Chris St. Hilaire, MFour’s CEO and co-founder. “Now researchers can color store-visitation data with survey opinions, and validate survey opinions with mobile visitation data.”

Until now, in-store product evaluations have been subject to inherent bias because standard “mission” and “mystery shopper” methods call for recruiting consumers who in the real world might not even shop for the product that’s being studied, nor shop at the stores they’re sent to.

ProductCheck™ focuses on natural shoppers, not recruits. It connects you with validated, first-party consumers who’ve gone to the store naturally, without prompting. In-store surveys fielded through MFour’s Surveys On The Go® mobile research app screen for natural category intenders, who are then prompted to go to that category’s aisle and continue answering the in-store survey.

Researchers collect data at the Point-of-Emotion® – the precise moment when respondents are encountering and evaluating the product, so that their answers are colored by the immediacy of the experience. You can also ask respondents to take photos and videos of products on-shelf to give you the clearest visualization and understanding of in-store reality. These images and videos are captured in our survey app and are perfect for adding color and story-telling impact to reports, presentations and business recommendations.

A full-service version of ProductCheck™ lists at $18,000 and includes expert, in-house survey design and programming consultation and analysis. Self-Service ProductCheck™ via MFourDIY® lists at $9,000 and includes a templated suggested questionnaire.

 

Topics: mobile market research, purchase path, always-on data, retail research, ProductCheck™

Major Retailers Will Shutter 3,500 Stores in 2019. Here's How Retail Research Can Understand What Comes Next.

Posted by MFour on Mar 19, 2019 6:00:00 AM

“Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” was a hit ballad for Whitney Houston. “Where do disenfranchised shoppers go?” is an increasingly important question for retail-sector market research as store closures continue to disrupt consumers’ familiar purchase paths. Each round of closures is an inflection point that puts displaced shoppers’ spending and brand loyalty up for grabs.

To win the battle to retain or pry away disenfranchised shoppers after a location closes, brands need fast, reliable data and insights into exactly who has been displaced, where they’re going now, and why they’ve taken that path. The stakes are high, with 3,500 store closings expected this year, according to RetailTouchPoints.

To find, connect with and understand these displaced customers, your best way forward is to combine observational mobile location-visitation data and mobile survey data.

Start with a validated, first-party market research panel that’s large and diverse enough to represent relevant populations of the disenfranchised. Once you’ve taken that crucial step, here are tips on how to proceed.

First challenge: Identify the displaced consumers.

  • Solution: Always-on mobile location tracking records and archives 500,000 daily visits by opted-in consumers to the top 1,000 U.S. retailers, plus an additional 250,000 daily visits to other commercially-significant locations such as entertainment venues and transportation hubs.
  • Result: Researchers quickly identify consumers who have made past visits to now-closed stores and can continue to observe their movements for changes in path-to-purchase patterns. 

Second challenge: Understand where displaced consumers are landing.

  • Solution: Continue always-on tracking of validated disenfranchised shoppers in the weeks or months after a store closure, closely observing for any changes in their brick-and-mortar store-visitation patterns.
  • Result: Obtain location insights into what they do next. 
  • Insights Opportunities:
    • Who remains loyal by switching to another store in the same retail chain?
    • See who’s in play by comparing pre-closure and post-closure visitation patterns. Those who are shopping around are important targets for further inquiry into how they can be influenced.
    • Identify shoppers who have switched loyalties as a result of a store closure and are now shopping mainly or exclusively at a competing store that’s a short distance from the one that closed.
    • See which displaced shoppers have stopped visiting any store in the category. Are they shopping online instead? And at whose eCommerce site?
Third challenge: What’s the “why” behind affected consumers’ observed post-closure visitation patterns? 
  • Solution: Mobile surveys targeted specifically to validated consumers in each behavioral segment - new store, same retailer/switched to a competitor's store after closure/trying different stores/stopped shopping at brick-and-mortar stores in the category. 
  • Result: Useful consumer understanding that helps drive actions and decisions on a number of fronts.
  • Insights Opportunities:
    • The data and insights could inform a variety of marketing efforts, including advertising, discount offers, upgrades of retailers’ apps and online-stores’ attractiveness and functionality to capture dropouts from brick-and-mortar stores.
    • Retailers also can inquire and gain insights into which products and product categories are most important to disenfranchised shoppers as they decide where to go now.

Many other retail problems and opportunities that require fast, trustworthy data will benefit from advanced mobile research solutions. The key inputs that power all these research situations are a large, top-quality, first-party consumer panel that’s engaged and willingly opted in for behavioral tracking as well as surveys.

By coloring observed location data with surveys, and validating the surveys with location data, researchers can gain insights they need to help their brands and clients succeed amid the disruptive changes impacting the retail industry.

Topics: mobile tracking, mobile data, survey data, market research panel, purchase path, always-on data, observational data, retail research

Use These 3 Easy Tools To Make Sense of Connected Consumers' Complex Shopping Journeys

Posted by MFour on Mar 7, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Thanks to smartphones' impact on shopping behavior, today's purchase paths are markedly more complex than the traditional model that sufficed before the world became mobile and consumers became continuously connected to it.

A recent report from Digiday illustrates how complex retail shopping is becoming. The article focuses on the proliferation of dynamic pricing, which has introduced a new level of uncertainty, ephemerality and risk to attempts to adjust prices to maximize revenue and market share.  

“The notion of `everyday low prices,’ trumpeted by retailers like Walmart and Target, is being turned on its head,” writes Digiday reporter Suman Bhattacharyya. “In its place, pricing algorithms spit out different figures based on factors that could include time of day, demand, location, competition, and customer buying patterns.” For example, someone using a retailer's app to search for products might see different prices than a shopper in the same retailer’s brick and mortar stores.

The article says that Amazon's algorithm-driven powers of flexible pricing have prompted competitors to introduce dynamic pricing strategies of their own. But there are pitfalls: “While retailers recognize that dynamic pricing is necessary to stay competitive, it comes with the risk of undermining customer trust due to perceptions of price gouging or price discrimination.”

As consumer reality becomes more complex and difficult to pin down in this era of constant consumer connection, a first-party mobile consumer panel whose validated, demographically profiled members can be observed as well as surveyed will bring much-needed stability, reliability and utility to market research. Here are a few examples:

  • You can use always-on behavioral data that doubly opted-in mobile consumer panel members authorize MFour to collect, whether it's to focus on their physical journeys in-the-moment, or track them or over weeks and months for insights into their visitation patterns.
  • Combining observed location visits with event-triggered surveys lets you communicate with validated shoppers while they’re still in a store, or just after they’ve left. You’ll collect feedback at the Point-of-Emotion®, avoiding the gaps in time between store experience and data collection that allow recall bias to seep in.
  • Identify shoppers by the mobile apps they use, allowing you to target surveys to them with 100% accuracy. Ask about their experiences with the app itself, or use mobile app tracking as an identification tool for targeting digital shoppers whose app use validates their interest in the brand.

But remember: no research technology will help you understand connected consumers if your participants are not fully engaged, representative and validated as accurately-profiled real people. 

Neither observed data nor survey data will yield quality insights if you’re not observing and surveying the people who are most  relevant to the business problem at hand. It may sound counterintuitive, but the solution for understanding a world that presents consumers with complex, multi-channel opportunities to shop and be influenced is to activate research that springs from a single source: an all-mobile panel, organized around a standard-setting mobile research app. Only a demographically diverse market research panel that's consistent with today's always-on, app-dominated information flow can provide the validated representation and proven engagement you need to observe, survey and understand. 

Topics: consumer data, purchase path, always-on data, connected consumers

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