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How to use WhatsApp to gain deeper shopper insights

It’s official: consumers today have become omnichannel shoppers. Whether online or in-store, on a desktop or a smartphone, today’s shoppers have more ways to purchase products than ever before.

53% of consumers visited a retailer on their phone in 2016, with 20% even using their phones to check the prices of competing products whilst in-store – and as that number continues to grow, retailers need to continually adapt and change their offerings to keep up with consumer behaviour. As a result, we are seeing qualitative market research dominating the retail industry in a bid to understand customers’ wants and needs and access in-depth shopper insights, with mobile qual and assisted shopping become intrinsically linked.

Utilising the power of WhatsApp

Because mobile adoption is so high, WhatsApp is an incredibly valuable tool to enhance your assisted shop to gain shopper insights. People are on social media all the time, and therefore a tool such as WhatsApp is like second nature to them; they don’t need to be instructed on how to use or interact with the app as it comes naturally to them – and even if they haven’t used it before, it can easily be accessed and used. Not only that, but it also needs a lot less effort than logging into an online platform, which means that respondents will be more engaged and barriers between the researcher and the participant can be easily broken down resulting in good rapport. Lastly, because it’s an app that many people already use, it’s a great cost-effective alternative to more expensive platforms. Just remember when using WhatsApp for your online qual, you need to make sure you are GDPR compliant. You can find out more about GDPR and market research in this blog.

Introducing WhatsApp for pre-tasks

As well as during the assisted shop, you can also utilise WhatsApp both before to set pre-work to complete and after in order to probe the decisions participant’s made and why. Using WhatsApp in this way means you can ensure you are getting maximum shopper insights and engagement from your respondents throughout the project. For example, you could ask your respondents to take photos of themselves in clothes prior to the research, then during the assisted shop you can go through the photos with them to get a qualitative view of their answers.

Shopper Insights and WhatsApp

Utilising WhatsApp during the shop

WhatsApp also enables you to easily communicate with and brief participants, enabling you to give them instructions on what they need to do during the assisted shop such as what section of the store to visit and what product to look at. From sending different respondents out on a shopping expedition to monitoring and guiding them through the experience via their mobile devices, WhatsApp is a great way to communicate with your respondents during the shop. You can easily provide them with a task list to encourage them to engage with a specific product or service, and participants can take images or videos of clothes or display points during the assisted shop that caught their eye and then explain why. And because this type of qualitative market research feels so natural, it will also likely make them more inclined to participate.

Employing WhatsApp to follow up

WhatsApp is also a great way to keep communication going with participants after the assisted shop; whether you need to ask them follow up questions or have post-tasks that they need to complete, it’s easy to stay in touch via WhatsApp which means that participants will be happy to keep the conversation going even after the research has taken place.

More and more companies today are embracing WhatsApp for B2B purposes. So much so, that WhatsApp have been doing lots of hard work on improving their platform for this reason. If you are interested in using WhatsApp for your research, you can read the terms and conditions here.

See, we told you using WhatsApp was easy! If you are thinking about carrying out an online or mobile qual project and need hints and tips about how to easily recruit participants, download our guide today.

Qualitative Market Research