5 Shopper Research Best Practices in 2023

Shopper research is essential for understanding consumer behavior. Discover the top 5 shopper research best practices for 2023 and stay ahead of the competition.

Tanvi Moitra
March 24, 2023
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Have you ever imagined how easy it would be to launch a new product if you could magically read a shopper’s mind? Well, with shopper research, you are the Charles Xavier of the research world.  

Shopper research helps analyze a shopper’s attitudes and behaviors. This enables marketers and researchers to tailor their experience for each type of shopper. By figuring out how to best impact the shopper’s journey, you can –1) achieve higher sales, 2) identify gaps and opportunities, 3) drive brand loyalty, 4) identify purchase triggers and friction points, 5) improve brand recall etc.

But traditional methods of conducting shopper research take you ten steps back with every step you take forward. Traditional shopper research methods like CLT and IHUT lack actionability, agility, and reliability. It is difficult to scrape below the surface and understand what a shopper truly wants.  

In an ideal world, shopper insights would not be subjected to change, errors or false responses. So let’s learn how you can rise beyond these challenges in 2023!

Shopper Research Best Practices

AI is not just for scientists; it’s one of the fastest-growing technologies used by marketers and research teams for a variety of business needs. Shopper Research is one such area which can benefit immensely from its use.

Online Research Platforms use AI-based technologies like Facial Coding, Eye Tracking and Voice AIto provide reliable and actionable insights. Traditional shopper research methods only show you the tip of the iceberg. But complementing your shopper research with AI will help you-  

  • Monitor what shoppers choose to look at
  • Map the directional path of their eye movements
  • Evaluate how many times a shopper looks at a particular product or element
  • Understand shopper behavior, emotions and attitudes in-depth
  • Analyze what shoppers find visually appealing and grabs their attention
Stated Responses vs Subconscious Shopper thoughts

# Pre-Testing Product Packaging

Did you know that colors are the most influential purchase trigger for almost 93% of shoppers?

Aesthetics play an important role because they act as distinguishing factors. They compel shoppers to look, touch, feel and engage with a product. With the number of products growing in the market, a shopper’s attention span is narrowing. It is crucial to grab their attention in the first instance, and it can be achieved by pre-testing product packaging.  

Let’s take Tropicana’s packaging redesign failure to understand the importance of pre-testing.  

Tropicana Before and After

In 2009, Tropicana tried to replace its existing packaging with a new one for the North American market. But this was not received well by shoppers leading to a 20% drop in sales. Its competitors took advantage of this “Tropicana crisis” to gain more customers but for Tropicana, this initiative cost over 50 million dollars!

This was mainly because the new packaging became less distinguishable because of changes in the logo placement and choice of imagery used.  

But this could have been avoided if Tropicana had pre-tested its new packaging before jumping headfirst into launching.  

# Using Virtual Shelf-Testing

With virtual shelf-testing, you can simulate the in-store experience and increase the shelf and sales performance of your product.  

Virtual Shelf Testing uses an online shelf builder to get an abstract visual of a physical store shelf. You can place multiple products on the shelf builder to understand and predict how your product will perform in real life.  

It also helps you –

  • Analyze the logic behind a purchase decision made by the shopper
  • Evaluate how the orientation of the shelf influences the visual appeal of your product
  • Identify the ideal shelf placement for increasing shopper engagement
  • Map their path to purchase journey in detail
  • Use eye tracking to zero in on the hotspots  
Virtual Shelf Testing

# Switching to Online Research Platforms

Traditional shopper research methods are – 1) prone to error, 2) restricted to geography, 3) provide surface-level data, 4) depend on manual reporting and 5) have a higher turn-around-time etc.  

By switching to online research, you can overcome the barriers of traditional research methods. Online research platforms provide marketers and researchers with a plethora of features to take control of their research process.  

Advantages of using online research platforms-  

  • Access to online panels  
  • Benchmarking for analyzing performance against industry standards
  • Single source of truth for all research requirements
  • Automated reporting of insights
  • Easier cross-collaboration between teams
  • An online repository for storing all shopper data

# Identifying the right Channels & Stores

Even though COVID-19 caused an increase in online shoppers, brick-and-mortar shops have sprung back into action post the lockdown. This has made it challenging for marketers and researchers to decide where to focus their investments for an optimal return.

It is important to identify the right channel and stores to cater to the rebound footfall, and this can be done easily with shopper research.  

Imbibing this as one of the goals in your shopper research process is crucial for understanding shoppers’ preferences and providing them with an exceptional shopping experience.  

Bottom Line

2023 is all about taking shopper research to the next level. Shopper research should be projected towards understanding the shoppers’ preferences and attitudes. But with traditional research methods, it is easy to go down a slippery slope of unusable data quickly. By including the above best practices, you can get closer to actionable, scalable, reliable and faster insights.  


Supercharge your research with actionable insights faster on Decode's integrated consumer research platform with Insights AI.
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Build the Right Products, the Right Way: Elevate your UX with Qatalyst's integrated user research platform with Insights AI.


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Author Bio

Tanvi Moitra
Tanvi can usually be found anxiously treading the office floor to get her content reviewed, here at Entropik. When not absorbed by researching and writing, she loves to read, go for a swim, play badminton, paint, and otherwise spend too much time bingeing on the Office and cuddling her German Shepherd, Whiskey. An absolute foodie, she would love to cook and bake for you and even give you the best dessert suggestions in the office.

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