Browse through some frequently asked questions

What do I get when I subscribe to a category2017-06-04T17:28:06+01:00

Sponsorship of any specific category gives you all the detail for that category plus the measures for the immediate “department”, e.g. for Shampoo you get All health and beauty as the comparison benchmark) and the total store (all category) benchmark. You will get all retailers split out, plus any other additional banners you have asked for in the sample. You can also get benchmarks for retailer “groups” e.g. “all small stores” or “big box stores” and channel composites like “Drug” or “Club” stores. In additional to all this, a client can purchase additional category benchmarks at half the price of “your” categories. We also invite clients to think about using specific one off benchmarks in the wider data set on an ad hoc basis during project work for a modest additional fee(without having to buy the whole data set for any such category).

How do I get my data? Do you provide analytical support?2017-06-08T16:35:44+01:00

You get two main pieces of the toolkit. First we give you pre populated Powerpoint summary “decks” that bring to life visually the main insights from the program. Looking through the lens of category, retailer or brand these are a good start point. Second, there are interactive tools that allow you to explore the data to answer business questions: the online dashboard provides quick access to any of the data, while the “slice and dice” tool allows you to create any data cube you want. We also provide a team of shopper research specialists who will train your teams or provide you with analysis to your brief. We recommend you build in to your plan a modest budget for additional help and input over and above what we provide within our standard costs. Most clients nominate one or two “power users” internally as the go-to people to provide support with the data.

How does it give me a point of difference if anyone can access this data?2017-06-03T12:32:33+01:00

Real differentiation comes from the recommendations you make using any data source. In this sense Shopper Intelligence is no different to Panel data – you will generate learnings that others do not. Retailers are interested in ways to create growth and your thinking will be driven by many pieces of information. The big advantage with our system is that in using a data source retailers already accept, your recommendations are more credible and appear as more objective. Also, because Shopper Intelligence gives you “the shopper basics” for less cost you can spend the remainder of your budgets in a more “rifle shot” way – digging deeper into where the issues are. Also, bear in mind that speed and consistency is important. Custom work takes a long time and is not done on a frequent basis. Using Shopper Intelligence your teams have up to date data available in a user friendly, and easy to analyse form at their fingertips, week in week out. As they get familiar with it, they will find more and more ways to leverage it. And don’t forget you can add totally custom content.

Who should use this data?2017-06-03T12:32:00+01:00

Don’t think of this as a one off project with a particular use and user in mind. Instead this is a database with elements relevant to many business functions and planning processes throughout the year. The primary users will be the category teams adapting brand marketing plans into category centric strategies and proposing these to retailers. Of course the National Account teams will be very involved in building the resulting retailer specific account plans, and will want to understand what makes each customer tick and where each has unique opportunities. Brand Managers should be planning their activities in the context of category and market insights. Our data is an important ingredient in this wider understanding. A great brand plan or NPD initiative helps grow the category and drives additional consumption and/or spend. Finally, your executive team knows the importance of execution to the shopper and strong partnerships with customers. This data is a great way to measure and track with the kind of objective numbers senior management live by.

Can I see more than just my categories?2017-06-03T12:31:24+01:00

Our sponsorship packages start with full purchase of all the data in your selected categories. However you always get the Department and Total Store average benchmarks (weighted average of the categories included). You can also buy into benchmark categories outside the ones you play in for half price (e.g. other categories in your department). We also recommend you maintain a small budget for Ad Hoc requests where you may want to get benchmarks on specific questions in another category to meet a particular project needs. Benchmarks are a key to insight and to building a compelling “story” from the data.

Are there compromises on quality for such a cost saving versus commission my own research?2017-08-21T15:34:26+01:00

Far from it. There are powerful economies at work here that don’t harm quality. There are no compromises in the interview which is the key source of data quality. Each respondent is recruited, paid and takes the requisite time to complete the questionnaire. Our quality controls are very strict (stricter than most such studies), so any poor quality respondents are rejected. We invest heavily in our fieldwork – we deliberately and expensively ask for a shop in the last 3 days and ask each respondent only about one or two categories in just their last shop. You can be sure these are shoppers who can answer questions accurately. The cost savings you benefit from come from two efficiency elements inherent in our large scale model. First, all categories and retailers are measured in one single contemporary process. This leads to savings due to fixed cost sharing and massive savings from using respondent panels very effectively (whilst making sure measures are comparable). Second, our reporting and analysis is highly automated. Although you receive a highly developed set of outputs and tools, these have been designed over many years and are applied to your data set through automation. Finally, we have refined our content and reporting over the years so the usual “design and build” time element of custom research is not needed. Don’t forget also the internal time savings from not having to develop the research and “land” the reporting. Of course the main area you do inevitably compromise on is being able to tailor every aspect of the questionnaire specifically to your business. But this is offset with the provision of the benchmarks that give powerful insights.

How do I know that shoppers’ feedback from the program is reliable?2017-06-03T12:30:17+01:00

There is evidence that shoppers find it difficult to report some aspects of their decision making and behaviours after the event. Indeed some shopping influences are entirely subliminal so no form of direct research can reliably assess them. We recognise this as follows:

  • We ask questions where shoppers should able to give reliable answers (and respondent feedback backs this up).
  • With large quantitative samples, any difference is by definition “real” if statistically valid. If responses varied randomly due to inability to recall, you would not see patterns emerge.
  • We benchmark – we show you real differences between your category and others or changes over time.
  • We focus on the remembered experience; which in turn will drive decision to shop that category and store in the future.
  • We ask clients to compare our outcomes with studies completed using other methods. In every case we have seen consistency.
  • Finally, of course, we ensure the interview is done as recently as possible to the shopping trip.
Why do you use online rather than in store?2017-06-03T12:29:11+01:00

In store observations and recall interviews (whatever time lapse from purchase) are fundamentally different in their objectives. In store observations are good for observing how shoppers interact with the fixture, but are weak for getting any understanding of the causes of the interaction or how shoppers are interpreting it themselves (why are they doing what they do?). Interviews undertaken in store have two main challenges: first many shoppers refuse to do them (particularly difficult to recruit shoppers in a hurry) second, you can only spend a few minutes before respondent frustration sets in. Online relies on shoppers’ recall, but we can ask an in depth questionnaire at time of their choosing so get a more representative sample. Finally, there is no other way to gather the kind of samples we provide for a cost that would make our programs affordable, even if we felt a better route was available.

Is there any sampling bias in your methodology?2017-06-03T12:28:44+01:00

We have seen no problematic or consistent source of bias through using large scale access panels, other than they tend to under-represent the eldest age groups (at the moment). We invite you to compare our sample to other sources of comparison on the profile of your category. Because we only allow in people who have recently bought your category it has always proven to be a similar profile to that which clients expect, although one might expect a slight bias to more frequent shoppers since we recruit based on shopped in the last few days. Our programs are the largest surveys operating in the world today. Their sheer scale means they are the most representative data source of its kind.

How do you find the shoppers you interview?2017-06-03T12:28:16+01:00

We partner with Research Now, the largest provider of internet access panels and other approved partners. These companies recruit consumers to undertake a wide range of research on behalf of most leading research companies, in return for modest cash, points or other rewards. We are the largest single users of these panels but to all intents and purposes, the respondents experience is the same for any research project however big or small. Shoppers can do the survey no more often than once a month.

Can I add my own questions?2017-06-03T12:27:49+01:00

Yes. We encourage you to look at our standard benchmarking questions and identify any issues that may be topical or unique to your category or business that we can add. We see our programs as being 90% standard and 10% customised. Two areas of customisation that clients have found particularly useful is in adding category specific shopper segmentations (types of shoppers) and/or asking extra questions about intended usage/occasion/users that are more relevant to the specifics of a category. If you are pursuing already identified strategies, we can add tracking measures in our questionnaire to measure these for you, or any new or topical issues you’d like specific input on.

Do you measure both my and my competitor brand shoppers?2017-06-03T12:27:20+01:00

For sure! We can split any or all of our data by the specific brand bought on this occasion, thus we can also show the differences between brand and own label buyers and shoppers of brand A or B (assuming the brands are sufficient in share to have provided an adequate sample). We don’t usually include questions directly about brands though (unless by sponsor request); it’s more about understanding how perceptions and behaviours in the category differ by each brands’ shoppers.

How do you define a “category”?2017-06-03T12:26:29+01:00

We do this in collaboration with our sponsors. We always cover the entire store, starting with a coverage across the store of about 100 major categories. What individual categories and segments below that or in additional to these are added depends on what sponsors ask for. Within reasonable limits on penetration and frequency we can measure specific segments in exactly the way you measure your business in other data sources (eg Panel) . You don’t need to measure every smaller category each year, but it’s beneficial to track your biggest categories consistently over time.

How much detail do I get on my category?2017-06-08T16:38:39+01:00

We set a quota of 100-150 shoppers in every category in each banner covered in the program. So the actual number of responses will vary by the number of retailers in the study each year, but you can be assured SI gives you a truly deep and rich analysis. Our sample is built to provide a robust perspective for each category with a high degree of statistical confidence. Colour codes applied will show you if you are given 90% or 99% confidence in any specific comparison. In most cases we are able to assess brands that have at least a 5-10% share of a category, and see differences by key product segments and shopper types. Clients can ask for a increased sample to improve the depth of analysis that can be done (it’s very cost effective to do so, particularly in larger categories or segments).

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