One of the most common concerns when it comes to online market research is if you can ever know whether your respondents are telling the truth. Well, in a sense, you really can’t. For example, you may have recruited that mother of three for your latest study because she indicated that she doesn’t purchase frozen foods, but the only way to know for sure is if you come over and ask to peek into her freezer—not exactly the most ethical approach.
To a researcher, it may not seem like there are many reasons for their respondents to fudge the truth: no one is here to judge them, and the responses will not be shared with the public. But after taking a moment to empathize with consumers, one can probably come up with lots of reasons a respondent may not offer completely truthful insight. People overstate and underplay their experiences all the time, and even alter them to portray the person they think they are or would like to be. They may have forgotten doing an activity you asked about, or they may not consider a purchase to be significant enough to mention.
In order for researchers to stand the best chance of ensuring and verifying that what their target audience claims to value, believe, and do genuinely reflect their experiences, they must find a way to evaluate consumers under real life circumstances. Of course, that’s often easier said than done. But with the surge of data collection through market surveys and social media, it’s crucial to leverage agile research methods that can achieve more reliable consumer insights at comparable speed and cost. Here are a few ways to apply real life conditions in research:
- Have respondents conduct in-store activities: In order to gain shopper insights into product marketing and customer behavior, you can have your respondents answer questions as they walk the aisles using a mobile research platform. Image uploads of their cart and video descriptions of their experiences allow consumers to naturally reflect upon their real-life shopping experience without awkward in-store observation.
- Choose your discussion guide language carefully: When asking respondents about their actual behavior and actions, use language that puts respondents in the mindset of the scenario you’re investigating, as well as provides enough context to do so. Ask respondents to “imagine” a choice or “envision” a scene, and describe that scenario with enough detail to paint a compelling picture.
- Conduct your IHUTs online: Whether package testing or demoing a prototype, when you wish to conduct a usage test, an online research platform allows respondents to document and upload their reactions as they occur, ensuring their responses are embedded in real world application.
By exposing respondents to the real consequences of their claims, researchers can better guarantee that their statements and actions are aligned with their actual habits and preferences. Using online and mobile qualitative research methods that fit seamlessly into respondents’ lives is a great way to elicit natural, genuine reactions from consumers. To learn more about how Logitech gained invaluable shopper insights into product marketing, point of sale, and in-store experience, check out the case study below.