Accompanied shopping trips
In our experience, Accompanied Shopping Trips (ASTs) are one of the most effective ways of understanding consumer buying behaviour – also known as Accompanied Shops or Depths. Accompanied Shopping trips are similar to shadowing – although the moderator has a more active role here in order to glean insights into the respondent's behaviours and mental processes.
How AST’s work
Respondents are pre-recruited and invited to spend a specified amount of time (e.g 45 minutes to an hour) walking around a store as if they were carrying out their routine shopping or purchase several specified products.
A researcher accompanies the respondent and conducts a depth interview as they tour the store. There are usually 15 minutes or so to spare at the end where the Researcher and respondent can sit down and discuss other topics from the topic guide (contains questions to be covered during the process).
ASTs can also be used to visit a competitor store and make comparisons between the two. As well as accompanied shops, we can also carry out ”Shopper Intercepts”.
The obvious advantage of this approach is that the Researcher can see first-hand, how they shop, the types of products the respondent is drawn to, the type of questions they may ask staff or problems they encounter, what they think of the in-store display, promotions and environment etc. All these insights provide new information that then allows the researcher to ask deeper and more meaningful questions which would be difficult to capture without seeing things first hand.
Typically, Accompanied Shops are used by retailers and brand owners to capture customer experience – likes, dislikes, frustrations, etc., store layout, category positioning, awareness, in-store decision-making processes, competitor intelligence, etc.
Online Accompanied Shops (Accompanied Surfs)
Increasingly retailers and brand owners are looking at ways in which online shops/websites can be optimised for improved customer experience and for a positive return in terms of sales. Using Accompanied surfs or Usability Testing we monitor, observe and use cutting-edge eye-tracking techniques to understand how consumers and B2B audiences use websites, and what improvements might be required.