10 Things We Have Learnt From In-store Research

Through our work with retailers and brands, we’ve decided to compile a list of 10 things we have learnt from in-store research. So here goes…..



1.       It is STILL one of the best ways to get ‘in the moment’ feedback on the retail environment, shopping trip and staff services


Interviewing customers at the exit provides an immediacy that other methods cannot match in the same way. This is particularly important if you want a timely measure of satisfaction in-store. Have a read of our blog about why we believe ‘in the moment’ of purchase research is important.

2.       Match your questionnaire length to the length of the shopping trip 


In-store Research

If customers are in and out in a matter of minutes, make sure your questionnaire length matches this. There is no point having a market research questionnaire that takes longer than the shopping trip itself!

3.       Have quality control systems in place before you start


To ensure you can rely on the data collected, ensure your fieldforce is entirely clear on what is expected from them from their work. Ask your agency what quality control systems they have in place with their fieldforce.

4.       Allow enough TIME  to complete fieldwork


In-store Research Calendar

Interviewers are human too. They get ill, they get lost, they are unable to complete their interviewing shifts for various reasons. Make sure you leave a bit of time at the end of fieldwork to ‘mop up’ any missed shifts. Sadly, we can’t control the weather, and sometimes, it gets in our way. If you are interviewing outside (because you are doing street interviews, or interviews where you don’t have permission to be in a store) you won’t get as many interviews on rainy days as on sunny days! As the rest of the country grinds to a halt when it snows, so too will interviewing – be aware of the weather and account for this in your timings.

5.       Conduct all f2f in-store interviews via tablet



Increased accuracy, speed of data delivery and additional quality control measures makes it absolutely critical to carry out face-to-face interviews using tablet rather than pen and paper.

6.       Customers WILL stop and be interviewed – even in busy stores


Woman shopping in supermarket aisle

So long as there is a well-trained interviewer there to intercept and encourage participation, your customers will stop and give you their opinions …. But…..

7.       Check the feasibility of achieving interviewer numbers BEFORE you start the research


Think about who you are looking to interview. Is it ALL SHOPPERS? Fine. Is it mums of babies aged up to  12 months? Trickier. Is it female shoppers over 60 who don’t drive? Even harder.

8.       Make sure the research agency knows as much about the instore environment as possible


To know the business problem, the reasons behind the research, what you are trying to get from the research, any problems that you foresee, and any local or cultural information that is specific to the area or store being interviewed in.

9.       Think about your reporting requirements


Where do people most use their tablet?

Are you looking for data, vox pops, verbatims, instant feedback, robust big data? All are possible and the study would be set-up to allow collection of the data to meet your requirements.

10.   Will you need to get back in touch with any customers researched?


Sometimes,  if you have gone to the effort of capturing the feedback from a group of customers you may wish to speak to them again at a later date to get more feedback .

Amy Nichols is a Research Director within the Retail Team at Marketing Sciences Unlimited. She specialises in helping retailers to listen to the Voice Of the Customer. She also has years of experience of conducting face-to-face research in-store and understanding the benefits and pitfalls to avoid!

Sign up to our latest blogs and newsletters

Amy Nichols
01962 842211
Article date - 03/07/2015
View all articles by this author

Let us know your thoughts


twitter in facebook google youtube

Welcome to Walnut Unlimited: The human understanding agency.

Marketing Sciences Unlimited has evolved into Walnut Unlimited: The human understanding agency. At the heart of our proposition is a single concept – human understanding –underpinned with no-nonsense science to generate purposeful insights.

We want to help you better connect with your customers and believe these human insights deliver brand growth.

Created by bringing together all four of the Unlimited Group’s insight agencies: ICM Unlimited, ICM Direct, Marketing Sciences Unlimited and Walnut Unlimited we will deliver a new offer which is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

To read more about Walnut Unlimited click the button below, but to continue to read this page please close this pop-up.