Tracking the Purchase Process – Up Close and Personal Thanks to Mobile

Julia Gartside-Spink’s session at the AQR/QRCA Conference in Rome explained the mobile/online approach she used to help her client better understand the consumer purchase process. She finds this online/mobile/TIDI ethnographic approach far superior to in-person focus groups and in-depth interviews because “memory of reported behavior and emotions is not nearly as powerful as capturing them immediately.”

In Rome at the joint AQR/QRCA Conference on Thursday, April 26, Julia Gartside-Spink explained the mobile/online approach she used to help her inkjet printer client better understand the consumer purchase process.  Her hybrid approach allowed her to get “up-close and personal” throughout the frustrating process of buying a printer that one consumer described as “the kiss of death” and another claimed was making them “lose the will to live.”

Julia wanted to get immediate feedback on the steps printer buyers took and their thoughts, feelings and observations about it.  To do this she provided participants the freedom to report back during their shopping experience by mobile-enabled text, email, photo and video uploads, using their smart phones, mobile phones and computers.  As soon as a participant finally made their purchase, they reported into Julia, allowing her to personally speak with that person by telephone (TIDI) to debrief this final stage. She finds this online/mobile/TIDI ethnographic approach far superior to in-person focus groups and in-depth interviews to understand the purchase process because “memory of reported behavior and emotions is not nearly as powerful as capturing them immediately.”

Interestingly, Julia’s client wanted to make sure the mobile/online/TIDI hybrid approach had captured all insights and asked her to conduct in-person groups with participants after the mobile/online/TIDI portion of the project was completed.  The in-person groups added nothing further to the mobile/online findings.

Julia shared the project with us using an intriguing visualization of the entire printer-buying process, which she describes as “snakes and ladders,” drawing on a British children’s game, which captures how consumers come into the process at different levels and no sooner begin to come to a decision when the “snake” drags them down to the beginning again.

 

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