Retail Research Solutions

MFour is the pioneer of market research for retail in the Smartphone Era.

Today’s shoppers always have their phones in hand, so they’re always just a tap away from advice and information about where to shop and what to buy.

Now you can observe and survey consumers on their phones, anywhere and anytime, to understand those complex buying journeys from advertising exposure to checkout. Track and talk to 2.5 million first-party U.S. consumers, carefully profiled, validated and representative across all key demographics, including easy access to Millennials, Hispanics and African-Americans.

Retail research reaches an unprecedented depth of understanding through MFour’s Path-2-Purchase® Platform. Track validated, first-party consumers’ ongoing visits to 12.5 million U.S. locations, including the top 1,000 retail chains.

Then survey them to discover the “why” behind the “where” and “when” of their shopping trips. Engage shoppers in-store or just after a visit, for Point-of-Emotion® evaluations of the shopping experience.

When It’s Survival of the Fittest, Your Retail Research Must Evolve

The retail landscape is going through rapid, unprecedented upheaval and the stakes have become almost Darwinian: adapt or die.

In this environment, making little tweaks to your data-collection routines won’t be enough. You need the best mobile solutions to get accurate, real-time answers to questions like these:

  • Why are your stores’ revenues rising in one region, but shrinking in another?
  • Why are your competitors’ customers avoiding you and how can you change that?
  • Does your latest advertising creative have a chance to go viral on social media?

Yes, it’s tough out there, but you can do it. Success starts here, with the mobile solutions that belong in any retail research toolkit.

Solutions for Retail

Retail decision-makers face complex challenges with large consequences. MFour delivers data fast, so you can point executives toward the right moves before an opportunity is lost.

  • Survey shoppers in-store or after-visit.
  • Track consumer journeys: who, where and when.
  • Identify and survey non-purchasers.
  • Capture competitive intelligence from validated shoppers.
  • Test creative content for social media.
  • Conduct in-Home Usage Tests (IHUT).

Retail Research Options

In-Store Studies

  • Is your store layout confusing or easily navigable?
  • Are shoppers noticing and acting upon aisle displays and promotions?
  • Is the staff helpful and courteous? The checkout experience smooth?
  • Store environment: is it a clean and pleasant place to be?
  • Did they really see it? Validate shopping experiences with photo captures.
  • How did they feel about it? Mobile “video selfies” capture emotions on the spot.

After-Visit Retail Studies

  • Get accurate A to Z insights on shoppers’ total experience and satisfaction.
  • Do they recommend your store? Get NPS while recall is fresh.
  • What did they buy? Validate purchases with photo capture of receipts.
  • Don’t settle for “what” and “how much” they bought. Ask “why.”
  • Fighting killer deadlines? Get 25% response rates in one hour, 50% in 24 hours.

Location Visitation Tracking with Path-2-Purchase® Platform

Observe buying journeys of the only first-party, all-mobile consumer panel. Then survey for the “why” behind the visit. Track them over a span of days, weeks or months. The patterns that emerge help you identify and define your consumer segments. Privacy concerns? No. The consumers you observe all have opted in for location tracking because they’re eager for location-based survey opportunities.

  • Who’s coming to my stores and how often?
  • Who are my loyalists, who’s rejecting me, who’s a sometime customer – and why?
  • Who are my weekend shoppers? Who’s coming on weekdays? Or on the way to work?
  • Where did they go before and after they came to my store?
  • Where do disenfranchised shoppers end up after a store closes?
  • What’s the impact on foot traffic when Amazon is running a special shopping event?
  • What are store-visitation patterns of the people who have my app?

Competitive Intelligence

Turn your focus to your competitors’ customers. You can leverage all the in-store, after-visit and mobile location tracking research capabilities outlined above to understand your rivals’ shoppers as well as you understand your own.

  • Establish private communities of competitors’ validated shoppers (or your own) for regular feedback that reveals your brand’s competitive weaknesses and strengths.
  • Mystery shoppers: recruit mobile spies, send them to your competitors’ stores (or your own), then survey them for fast competitive data.
  • Identify members of MFour’s Surveys On The Go® consumer panel who have competing brands’ apps on their phones. 100% IR without screening questions.

Social Media Ad Testing

MFour’s Social Ad Testing is the only way for brands to receive instant pre-launch mobile feedback on their advertising messaging, copy and design. Your specific audience sees the test ad in its personal news feeds. It’s not a simulation, but a test in the exact social environment where the ad must perform, across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, or Twitter.

First, observe their ad interactions passively (clicks, shares, likes, viewing duration). Then survey them about ad recall, brand awareness and intent to buy. Finally, re-inject the ad, alert them to it and get feedback on the advertising creative.

High scores tell you you’re ready to launch the campaign. Negative feedback guides your creative revisions. Repeat until you get the thumbs up.

  • Is the concept a bore or an attention-grabber?
  • Is the creative working? Why or why not?
  • Is this ad a success on Facebook but underperforming on Twitter?
  • Where should I place my ads and allocate my ad spending?

Non-Purchasers Research

Nearly one in four retail customers fail to purchase items they’d come to buy, leaving millions of dollars on the table each day. Connect with validated shoppers for an immediate after-visit survey to discover the “why” behind the non-buy.

  • Were shelves chaotic? Was product placement illogical?
  • Were they not able to get staff’s attention for help finding products?
  • Or was the staff responsive, but not helpful?
  • Pricing a factor? Desired sizes not available?
  • Did the experience reduce satisfaction with the overall visit? How badly?
  • Which of your individual stores or districts perform better or worse on non-buying – and why? Can better performers be copied by underachievers?

Competitive Intelligence

Competitive Intelligence research is a practical way to get close to rivals’ shoppers, so you can watch and listen at the Point-of-Emotion®.

  • Intercept your competitors’ validated consumers and ask them anything.
  • Send consumers to mystery shop your locations and/or a
    competitor’s locations.
  • Target and survey competitors’ customers based on:
    • In-store intercepts at the Point-of-Emotion®.
    • Historical Path-2-Purchase® visitation patterns.
    • Use of a competitor’s app.
    • Mobile carrier and device type: make/model/operating system.

IHUT/Product-Usage Tracking

A Multi-Phase Approach for Your Private Brands

Finally your IHUT research will be comprehensive, including the shopping experience as well as product use and satisfaction.

  • Are consumers considering your store brand products?
  • Are the name, packaging and aisle and shelf placement effective?
  • How satisfied are they when they actually use the product?

Get your answers with a comprehensive mobile In-Home Usage Test study.

First Phase: In-Store

Decide between a study of natural purchasers or conducting a recruit-and-send in which you instruct consumers who match your product’s target audience to buy it and take it home.

Begin with an in-store survey to focus on the shopping experience.

  • What’s the best shelf and aisle placement for your store bands?
  • Does the packaging stand out and do shoppers find it attractive?
  • Is the store brand’s name appropriate and memorable?
  • What motivated natural buyers? Price? Quality?
  • Which natural category consumers are most likely to consider or buy a store brand?

Second Phase: In-Home

Survey natural and recruited purchasers exactly when they use the store brand product. Get the most detailed feedback on how they consume it and how well they like it. Asking respondents to capture “video selfies” as they use and talk about the product is especially effective. Nothing beats seeing and hearing consumers at the Point-of-Emotion®. Including in-their-own-words “video selfies” will bring your presentations to life and help get your messages across. Expect response rates of 85% for the in-home product use phase, up to two weeks after the purchase.

  • How and where do they use the product?
  • What’s written on their faces and audible in their voices as they give their evaluations?
  • Do they state satisfaction but respond with an audible or visible shrug?
  • What do you see and hear when they compare your store brand to “name” brands?

200 Completes in 2 ½ Hours at 7-Eleven

Learn how MFour’s GeoValidation® GPS technology sets the new standard for blazing fast quick-turn research.

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