Woman hand using smartphone in a supermarket.

Mobile Qual: Enabling In-The-Moment Evaluation

Connecting with customers in the moment is a trending development in the research industry that leverages smartphones to discover location-based data more efficiently. These self-administered surveys are a time-saving, cost-effective method for gathering self-administered in-situ feedback. Respondents can also be assigned tasks at a given location, effectively creating a test population of respondents. This is useful when, for example, product purchasers are difficult to reach.

MMR recently created a user-base and leveraged mobile capabilities to help a manufacturer of home improvement products diagnose a manufacturing issue.

Business Context / Question
When sales of a new home improvement product were much lower than expected, and products were being returned at a high rate, the manufacturer wanted to understand what was driving this underperforming trend. They hypothesized that a product quality issue was playing a role, or perhaps there was an in-store merchandising issue.

The experts at MMR sought to create a user-base to counter the low incidence of purchases. While an in-home use test or CLT would be the more traditional answer, we recommended a different option: developing a self-administered, in-store survey so that respondents could evaluate the product in real time, including a review of in-store merchandising.

Participants were recruited via a mobile app partner to visit specific retail locations based on proximity to the respondent. The app screened participants based on study specifications prior to participation; we also took care to make the task as streamlined as possible to encourage participation and minimize respondent drop-off. Once selected, respondents used their mobile device in the store, taking photos and narrating videos of the product display. They also completed a brief survey, and purchased the product for use at home. Later, they documented the assembly process, used the product for a few days, and completed a follow-up survey.

Actionable Results
The in-store evaluations uncovered several inconsistencies in merchandising and SKUs on the shelf at given locations. Under-stocked shelves could cause lower sales, so we recommended to the client that they coordinate better with their retail partner and field staff to ensure merchandising consistency. Additionally, during in-home usage, respondents revealed some product quality issues that were unknown to the manufacturer. Asking for videos and photos as part of the survey process enhanced the level of detail provided by respondents, and added texture and nuance to the factual details. This helped the manufacturer create more effective product-related materials and messaging for future use.

This self-directed approach is very effective, and allowed our client to save money while diagnosing the product issues efficiently.