Archive for October 2010
It’s not all about the bricks and mortar.
On the morning of the 28th October, the BBC reported that the UK’s internet economy is now larger than the transport, construction or the utilities industries, according to research commissioned by Google. Internet contribution to the economy is set to grow by 10% annually.
This is positive news for online businesses coupled by other evidence showing that online sales have not slowed down in the recession.
“Some 60% of the £100bn a year figure is made up from internet consumption – the amount that users spend on online shopping and on the cost of their connections and devices to access the web.”
Source: BBC article 28 Oct 2010
Industries being transformed by the internet and small businesses that actively use the internet experience sales growth of four times more than those that don’t.
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The act of shopping is characterised by a continually shifting flow of behaviours; periods of concentrated search (where will I find light bulbs?) are followed by evaluation (which type do I need? What’s the price?) and selection or rejection of an item. Shoppers’ motivations might then return to navigation (which aisle to visit next), and behaviour can take a browsing style (I’ll just look in the vegetables aisle in case I’ve forgotten something) or be a targeted mission (I need potatoes).
But these, and the thousands of micro-states occurring in between them, are rarely consciously experienced, there’s no continuous internal dialogue as above. In fact neuroscientists estimate that up to 95% of mental processing occurs below the threshold of our awareness, creating a considerable challenge for researchers interested in the retail experience.
Market researchers have long recognised that retail demands a different tack and have adopted and developed a host of methods tailored for the task. However many of these methods are far from perfect.
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Similar to many children growing up, I always wanted to know why things were the way they were. This hasn’t rectified itself into adult life, therefore it’s ideal that I find myself working as a user experience consultant for SimpleUsability, where I can ask ‘Why?’ all day long.
But in the field of usability, constantly asking a research participant “why?” could become pretty annoying. Moderators of usability studies have to discover different methods to find out the reasons behind why somebody carries out a task in a certain way.
Maybe we should address another question first; “Why ask why?” Technology has provided us with many tools to find out what people are doing, particularly on websites. From analytics we can see what people are clicking on and even watch where attention is driven to. What this doesn’t tell us is why people clicked there, what else they looked at first but were confused about, and also what they missed.
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We invited a few current online Sainsbury’s shoppers to carry out their weekly shop in our eye tracking studio. Shoppers started at one end of the grocery primary navigation shopping first in the Fresh section, moving on to Bakery etc. Although they had logged into their accounts, “none of the participants used the ‘My usuals’ or ‘shopping list’ features as they were concerned about missing offers” – isn’t this interesting? Customers always amaze!
Once into a product category, images were incredibly important to the shoppers. Participants scanned down the list of photos looking for familiar products, scanning across to the name and price afterwards. Most shoppers had an idea in their head of what something should cost, and hence used price as a sense check to confirm they were buying the right size or correct product.
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Latest addition to the SimpleUsability team underlines our commitment to evolving our cutting edge market research services that build on our world class eye tracking methodologies.
Lowri Davies joins us from market research agency, McCallum Layton, to pursue her passion for encouraging the use of neuropsychological and biometric measures in market research. She has worked on both qualitative and quantitative projects for clients such as O2, The Co-operative Group, HBOS, Direct Line, Smith & Nephew, Aviva and Business Link.
Guy Redwood, founder of SimpleUsability, commented “Lowri’s background in consumer neuroscience has drawn her to join the more innovative edge of the research industry. It was obvious within minutes of talking to Lowri that her passion for great research made her the perfect candidate for evolving our expanding eye tracking services.”
“The market acceptance of eye tracking as an essential tool for understanding consumer behaviour is rapidly growing. When we’re are recognised as market innovators, it is up to us to find the best talent and place that in an environment focused on remarkable excellence.”