assisted shops observe your shopping habits

Assisted shops 101: a different way to take part in market research

Paid focus groups and online surveys are the best-known methods of conducting paid market research. Though taking part doesn’t always involve just talking. Assisted shops, or the more snappily titled ‘shopalongs’, are an increasingly popular way of a brand gaining feedback and finding out why people shop the way they do. An assisted shop involves someone joining you on a shopping trip and learning about the decisions you make when shopping. Whilst a verbal explanation of the way you shop is helpful, actions often speak louder than words. Here are some guidelines on what you can expect if you take part in an assisted shop.

 

How do assisted shops work? 

An assisted shop is very simple. A researcher accompanies you whilst you go about your shopping trip, observing what you do and the decisions you make, but without interfering. They may ask you some questions whilst you browse, but they won’t attempt to influence you in any way. By observing your shopping habits first hand, the researcher can capture all sorts of things that they might not have learned using another method of paid market research, such as a focus group or online survey.

What exactly are they trying to learn?

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The researcher will closely watch everything you do in the store, from where you go first, the way you walk around the shop, what catches your eye, to making a purchase. They will observe the way you make your way around the shop, what is important to you about a shopping experience and whether the retailer is providing it, how you feel about the layout of the store, what you think the store is doing well and what you think it could do better. Creating a good shopping experience for a customer means you’re more likely to buy something from a well-organised, attractive shop than a messy, disorganised one – so this type of paid market research is very important to a brand.

What’s the format?

An assisted shop usually takes between 30 minutes and two hours, depending on the size of the store and how in depth the research is. The location of the shop you’re visiting will be chosen depending on how convenient they are for you, so you don’t need to worry about having to travel any great distance to take part. As with all paid market research, you will receive an incentive as a thank you for your assistance, which generally rrangesbetween £40 and £150 – again depending on the length of the shopalong.

Assisted shops and technology

Assisted shops go a step beyond the usual interview-based market research methods. They replicate real life shopping experiences and allow your behaviour to be observed in the moment. Just as in every other area of our lives, this type of research has been affected by new technologies, meaning that you may not be ‘physically’ assisted on your shop, and may have a digital assistant instead. Using mobile technology to log customer journeys through pictures, videos, texts and checklists is becoming increasingly popular and may be a more effective method. You are likely to feel more relaxed and therefore act more naturally, giving the most authentic insights to the way you shop.

Do you love a bit of retail therapy? Sign up now to take part in an assisted shop and earn some extra cash.

V Day 780x310 - Date ideas your other half will love!

Date ideas your other half will love!

Valentine’s Day is easily the most romantic day of the year. People traditionally express their love and appreciation for each other with a special dinner, boxes of chocolates and cards, but, lovely as these things are, they can become a little bit run of the mill. Here are some ideas for thoughtful Valentine’s Day date ideas that your other half will truly appreciate.

Spa day

Everybody appreciates a really good pampering, so rather than buy your partner a solo massage, why not enjoy some quality relaxation together? Unwind in the hot tub, bliss out with a couples massage, sip some bubbly and enjoy a delicious meal. If it sounds expensive – don’t worry! There are some excellent deals on Groupon and many spas do offers, so you can find something to suit any budget, and both SpaBreaks.com and SpaSeekers.com are offering tailored Valentine’s Day packages.

Skype date

If you’re in a long distance relationship or your partner is working away, Valentine’s Day can seem terribly bleak, but it doesn’t have to be – you can still enjoy a romantic date for two. Dress up, prepare a nice meal and pour yourself a glass of wine, then switch on Skype or Facetime and enjoy it with your loved one, no matter how far away they are. Don’t forget a toast to the wonder of modern day technology for making your date possible!

Classic home-cooked meal

Going out is all well and good, but all of your favourite restaurants are going to be heaving on Valentine’s Day, which won’t foster the intimate and romantic atmosphere you’ll be looking for (plus it will be expensive!). Cooking together is fun, or, if your partner isn’t much of a chef, you could let them relax whilst you whip up something delicious. If neither of you wants to cook, there are some great deals available for easy, home-cooked dinners: Marks & Spencers offer a quality meal for two at just £10, including wine, Waitrose has a special Valentine’s Day meal deal, offering a starter, main, two sides and wine for £20 and the Co-op will be selling one of the cheapest deals of a main and two side dishes for just £6.

 

Ice skating and après skate

Just because Christmas is over, it doesn’t mean ice skating has to be. There’s something about ice skating that is delightfully romantic, even if you aren’t up to the standard of Torvill and Dean. Whether you’re performing twirls for your partner or clinging onto each other’s hands to stay upright, you’re guaranteed plenty of fun and laughs. And once you’re all skated out, you can head to a cosy bar for some post-rink drinks.

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Spend the night somewhere unusual

Spending the night somewhere other than your own home is automatically exciting, so why not pack an overnight bag and escape this Valentine’s Day? A swanky hotel is a great option if you have the inclination and the budget, but why not think outside the box and go for something really quirky? Airbnb has thousands of cool properties in the UK, so you could end up spending Valentine’s night in a yurt, a tree house, a converted cowshed or even a ‘boatel’.

Brunch

A romantic evening dinner is usually associated with Valentine’s Day, but, for some, all of that sentimental nonsense is a little bit cringeworthy. If you want to mark the day without excessive soppiness, why not go out for a casual brunch? Every town and city in the UK has plenty of cafes offering a truly stellar selection of hipsterish brunching opportunities, so take your loved one to their favourite place; food, after all, is the way to everyone’s heart.

Recreate your first date

Sometimes the small, thoughtful things make a much deeper impression than the big, flashy ones. Recreating your first date for your partner will show them just how much you care and how much you appreciate the first moments of your relationship journey. Take them through the evening down to the last detail – where you went, what you did, what you ate and drank, even what you wore – if you can remember! It will be deeply romantic and make them weak at the knees all over again.

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Whatever you decide, it’s about making the effort to spend quality time together. If you need a little extra cash to fund your romantic day, register to take part in research with Angelfish here.

Don’t forget to like our Facebook page to keep up to date on the latest market research opportunities that you could take part in!