Adventures in Research: Global Shopalongs and In-homes

One of my favorite projects in 2013 was a global study on beverages.  The client wanted to know about the kinds of beverages people were making at home, as well as what they were buying (both in bottles and custom-made). It was a huge global study which covered 8 countries, and I got to work in three: the US, India, and Morocco.

Adventures in Research Global Shopalongs and In-homes

This was a logistically intense project. In each country, we did 6 shop-alongs (going to stores with people and asking them about the store and the selection of beverages, then having them purchase and consume a beverage while talking about its taste, smell, and appearance) and 6 in-home friendship groups (going into people’s homes and having them show us how they make a beverage, then bringing in 3-4 of their friends to drink and talk about it).

To add a fun wrinkle, the deliverable was a video report, which meant we had to have high-quality video from every interview—no iPhone videos! For the in-homes, this just meant that our videographer had to find a good place to set up his equipment (not always so easy in tiny New York apartments, including one where I moderated while sitting on the floor and my client observed from the bathroom!). For shop-alongs, rather than battling with store managers who didn’t want our whole video crew in their stores, we filmed “pre-shop” and “post-shop” interviews, and kept in-store interviewing to a discreet off-camera minimum. The pre- and post- interviews were done wherever we could find a quiet space: parks, alleys, and (my favorite, though possibly terrifying for respondents) inside parked cars.

Next week I’ll share some of the high and low moments from my three weeks on the road.

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Founder of Southpaw Insights