Mobile Products
Product Evaluation

MFour’s Mobile Product Evaluation studies deliver more vivid insights from in-store and after-visit surveys by bringing the special capabilities of respondents’ smartphones to bear. You begin by finding the right respondents, in the right place, at the right time with GeoValidation®, the advanced, proprietary technology we’ve used to map thousands of retail locations and other business venues nationwide. With it, we geolocate respondents from our million-member Surveys on the Go® panel as they shop naturally at locations where the product you’re studying is sold. They receive an in-app survey invitation asking them to respond. We can send the notification while they’re still shopping, or just as they leave the store.

You can prompt respondents to examine and evaluate the product under study while they’re at the store, or wait until panelists have left the store before pushing them a survey notification. You can opt for a quick-hit survey, or take an in-depth dive with interviews of 20 minutes or more. Because smartphone users are eager to use their devices’ multimedia features, you can ask in-store respondents to take pictures of your product or competing items, and to record comments on audio or video while they’re holding or looking at the product. You’ll learn what respondents think and feel in their own words, generating a new magnitude of depth and detail. You have a choice of excellent options: a traditional product-evaluation survey, yielding crisp, in-the-moment-insights, or multimedia-enhanced, in-their-own-words responses that bring another dimension of vividness and immediacy. You can take Product Evaluation even a step further: in-home user tests that leverage the same smartphone capabilities as in-store and after-visit evaluations.


When shoppers click to accept a survey, they may be asked to:

  • Report on how the item looks on the shelf. Was it easy to find? Is it in the area of the store where it is supposed to be? Does the packaging stand out?
  • Take a photo or video of the product. What is on the shelf next to it? How does it look next to the other products in that category?
  • Respond to a wide variety of question types. Our entire survey is cached on respondents’ phones as they enter the location for a fluid experience – specifically for a smartphone, with innovative question-types formatted with screen real estate in mind.
  • Audiotape a response. Listen to consumer feedback and evaluate their feelings at the Point-of-Emotion®.
  • Scan a barcode. Makes verification quick, easy and accurate. Ensure that panelists are giving feedback on the right product.
  • Audiotape their moment-by-moment experiences of the product.
  • Videotape reactions to the product.
  • Respond to preprogrammed survey questions.
  • Audio capture or write open-ended comments.
  • Provide feedback utilizing features exclusive to our native app.

When the survey is complete, panelists tap “submit,” and the data is sent directly to our reporting platform or into clients’ systems through an Application Programming Interface (API).

With panelists able to record audio, video, and take photos in addition to answering survey questions at the Point-of-Emotion®, clients have access to an extraordinary depth of data. And because panelists take the surveys at the very moment they are shopping for a product or browsing its category, their responses are not only fresh, frank and detailed, but flawed recall simply is not an issue. GeoValidation®, rich media options, expertly designed surveys and the most advanced function and display on smartphones combine to generate the highest-quality and most revealing consumer insights.

Product Evaluation Compared
Traditional Mobile
Recruits panel by on-package invitations or emailing prospective panelists. Recruits from a million-member panel and instantly refines the sample with a few questions on the smartphone app.
Users must be sent to visit a local retailer and buy the test product to test at home. Alerts panelists when they walk into a store where the product is sold; also alerts them to surveys about products in their local area. Panelists purchase the products and are reimbursed by MFour via PayPal at the end of the study (after a photo of the receipt is sent via smartphone).
Collects data using online surveys or landline phone calls. Gathers Point-of-Emotion® insights when users respond to questions on their smartphones.
May ask panelists to take photos or audio/video in a store and send them to the client. Audio, video and image capture can be sent directly from the smartphone, immediately.
Must coordinate panel recruitment, survey questions, how the product gets to the consumer, how the survey data is delivered, how photos are delivered. All aspects of the survey, including recruitment, are built into the native app that each panelist has downloaded to his or her phone.

Sample Product Evaluation Survey Questions, Themes and Prompts:

  • Report on how the item looks on the shelf. Was it easy to find? Is it in the area of the store where it’s supposed to be? Does the packaging stand out?
  • Take a photo or video of the product. What’s on the shelf next to it? How does it look next to the other products in that category?
  • Respond to a wide variety of question types. Our entire survey is cached on respondents’ phones as they enter the location for a fluid experience—specifically for a smartphone, with innovative question-types formatted with screen real estate in mind.
  • Audiotape a response.
  • Scan a barcode.
Case Study: Fast Research Action Boosts Holiday Sales of Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips
The Challenge

Obtain critical, time-sensitive insights to boost a new product that was falling short of sales goals.

The Solution

Leveraging MFour’s research technology and million-member active panel to intercept natural, in-store shoppers, then followed up with natural buyers to gain post-purchase insights.

The Results

Insights into product’s on-shelf and in-home appeal, optimizing pricing, placement and packaging – all within a two-week project turnaround.

Case Study Stats
Sample Size :      400
Response Rate : 34%
Incident Rate :    17%
The Challenge

A multinational food and beverage corporation wanted to test a very promising new snack: potato chips dipped in milk chocolate. It launched the product early in the holiday season, positioned as a special seasonal indulgence. When sales initially underperformed, the company called on MFour to gather in-store data on consumer experience and purchase intention from likely buyers of chocolate snacks. The client required fresh insights on a tight deadline, so it could make product adjustments before the holiday sales opportunity slipped away.

The Solution

Using its GeoValidation® technology, MFour fielded a survey to a natural sample of shoppers who intended to buy holiday snacks at major U.S. retailers that stocked the chocolate potato chips. Using their smartphones, including video capabilities, 400 respondents gave detailed, unfiltered, Point of Emotion® reactions to the product as it appeared on shelves. MFour followed up with 100 natural purchasers, collecting in-home data to gain further insights in the full cycle of shopping, buying and consuming the product.

Step 1: In-Store Test

    • Using MFour’s GeoValidation® capability, we identified qualified members of our nationwide Surveys on the Go® panel as they shopped at stores carrying the chocolate covered potato chips. These shoppers received a push notification alerting them to an immediate in-store survey opportunity.


  • Panelists who responded to the push received an advisory guiding them to the chips being studied. They answered questions and responded to prompts to use their smartphones’ audio, video and photo capabilities to record and send their thoughts and comments as they examined the product. They provided opinions expressing whether the product stood out on shelves and was easy to find, what they thought of the packaging, and their interest in buying the chips – as well as how the client’s chips compared with competing snacks.

Step 2: In-Home Usage Test with Multimedia

About 100 respondents began the IHUT, with 90% completion. They answered questions and responded to prompts to use their mobile devices’ audio and video capabilities to record their comments as they snacked on the chips. They were asked to respond in detail about taste, texture, satisfaction, and whatever else occurred to them during the snacking experience, including whether they’d be inclined to buy them again.

The Results

The survey data from the initial In-Store and IHUT surveys led to several direct changes in the product and its in-store marketing:

    • Indications that the chocolate-covered chips were in the wrong location led to a reclassification and a shift from the chips aisle to the seasonal snacks and candy aisle.


  • The client discovered that the packaging had been too bulky, and had failed to differentiate its product from competing snack chips. The resulting repackaging helped shoppers identify the chocolate-covered chips as originally intended – as a “premium” snack food.
The Outcome

With time of the essence, the Mobile IHUT study generated shopper insights needed to guide the product’s repositioning during a limited window for specialized holiday snack foods. The client was able to determine the most effective price point, classification and aisle and shelf placement for its chocolate-covered potato chips, in time to increase sales.


Data Sheets: IHUT
Native App
Allows for complex, data-heavy surveys and push notifications to panelists.
Push-notifies users through their smartphone that a survey is available.
Identifies a boundary around a venue, and tracks when users enter or exit the area.
Verification process ensuring accuracy of GeoFences.
The propietary algorithm used to enable location based surveys without affecting battery life.
Cached Surveys
Take surveys even without a cell phone signal.
Why adopt Mobile IHUT?
MFour’s Mobile In-Home Use Test (IHUT) revolutionizes the old-school home testing model, by utilizing cutting edge smartphone technology to capture Point-of-Emotion® insights to gain unparalleled depth of responses. Mobile IHUT is the most advanced, adaptable user testing methodology available today. Delivered via our Surveys On The Go® smartphone app, it can follow consumers from store to home—or from car dealership to test drive to garage—and document their experience with your product. Mobile IHUT can go anywhere your consumer goes and ask anything you want to know, in real-time.
GeoNotification® (our GPS system) triggers an alert when a consumer exits a store, and our app invites them to take a survey. MFour will screen the participant for the right purchase and can even verify the purchase by requiring a photo of the receipt. The participant is then able to test the product and document their opinions and insights in-the-moment via open ended response, audio recording, video or photos in their authentic consumption environment.
Mobile IHUT features:
  • Pre-screen participants based on specific shopping outlets.
  • Intercept participants immediately after purchase via GeoNotification®.
  • Cached surveys on respondents’ phones ensure a fluid experience.
  • Document the user experience in rich multimedia: audio recording, video, or photos.
Examples of IHUT
Researchers use IHUT to gauge customer satisfaction, understand use cases of their products, and to understand product quality opinions.Industries where IHUT is used extensively include:
Grocery, Retail, Consumer Packaged Goods, Fashion and Accessories, Healthcare, and Food & Beverage.
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