Tag Archives: research

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year? Black Friday Shopping Is Near

The day after Thanksgiving first became popular among shoppers in the late 1920s, when Macy’s department store advertised holiday sales during their annual Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. This signaled the start of the holiday shopping season in the United States. Since then, it has evolved into huge sales in retailers across the country. It is an opportunity for retailers to create a sense of urgency by offering ridiculously low prices on certain items, offer special sales for limited hours during the day, or limiting the number of items available for purchase at the special price. Due to the high demand for hot “doorbuster” items, it is not uncommon for shoppers to camp out in front of their favorite stores in hopes of grabbing the coveted items.

Retailers capitalized on the increased popularity of online shopping and started marketing “Cyber Monday” deals. Cyber Monday has only been around since 2005, and legend has it, got its name because the average consumer had dial-up internet at home, and would wait to do their online shopping at work, where the internet connection was faster. While the deals on Cyber Monday might not be quite as good as those of Black Friday, more and more shoppers are taking advantage of the opportunity to stay in the comfort of their home the day after Thanksgiving. Last year, Cyber Monday surpassed Black Friday in terms of revenue—Cyber Monday sales reached $3.45 billion, up 10.2% from 2015, and just ahead of Black Friday’s $3.34 billion. This year, mobile sales are expected to make up 54% (45% smartphones and 9% tablets) of online sales, beating desktop for the first time.

Small Business Saturday, a recent addition to the holiday weekend line-up, was founded in 2010 by American Express in an attempt to support small businesses and communities around the country. While it has not yet grown into a mega success like Cyber Monday, 2.1 million small businesses and 112 million consumers participated in the event in 2016.

QuestionPro Audience conducted a study with its shopper panel to understand how consumers plan to shop over Thanksgiving weekend. Our research indicates that shoppers are looking forward to a vigorous holiday shopping season. Black Friday spending is always a good gauge on the state of the economy, and 37% of survey respondents indicated that they plan to spend between $250 and $750 this year on their Black Friday shopping. A whopping 61% are going to spend the same amount or more than they did last year, but only 19% of those surveyed plan to pay for their purchases with cash. As evidenced by recent Kmart and Sears store closings, e-commerce is taking away market share from brick and mortar stores. Online sites such as Amazon are where the majority of our respondents plan to shop. Although there have been predictions that mobile sales will be huge this year, only 11% of respondents plan to shop via mobile phone or tablet. 21% of those surveyed are looking to purchase clothing/apparel, followed by computers, TVs and cameras. Cyber Monday popularity is still going strong, with 47% of our audience planning to shop those sales as well, but only 32% plan to support Small Business Saturday. All in all, it looks like it will be a prosperous weekend for consumers and retailers alike.

 

Seven Sins to Avoid When Designing a Survey

A year ago, we published a series of best practice for questionnaire development. This year, we would like to highlight some common mistakes that research practitioners should avoid, to ensure their data collection effort is not wasted. We are calling them The Seven Deadly Sins Of Questionnaire Design. The Seven Deadly Sins emerged from an ecclesiastic era, and since then have evolved as broader ethic markers for those who prefer disinfected consciences. Gwyneth Paltrow lost her head over them in the movie Seven, and the secular world has incorporated them as business credos (an example being The Seven Deadly Sins of Management, from the Harvard Business Review).

As long as people are dropping the ball in their professions, the Seven Deadly Sins work as a values template. They certainly work in market research, specifically when it comes to designing online survey questionnaires. Without a heavenly questionnaire, a survey will plunge into the deepest recesses of hell.

Below are the Seven Deadly Sins of Questionnaire Design that every researcher should avoid.

LUST

You are passionate about your project. You let that lust pollute your wording, even allow bias to possess the questions like a Linda Blair dream. Sometimes you don’t even know you’re doing it! As one research expert put it: “Bias is the mortal enemy of all surveys, and as a survey creator, it’s important to guard against it to make sure you get reliable results.”

To avoid this Hades, keep your language neutral and dry; employ a sensible number of opt-outs and open-ended questions; and make sure you use a second and even third set of eyes while crafting questions.

GLUTTONY

You crave that data or have a reprehensible voracity for it. You write an extremely long questionnaire, which ultimately results in crappy data collection.  You ignore the fact that respondents don’t care much for long, boring surveys, or your greediness for the data causes tunnel vision in your data collection methodology.

As some of our own research has shown, respondent fatigue sets in after 20 minutes of a survey. This may result in respondents exerting less effort and spending less time thinking about their answers as they journey deeper into the survey. A survey over 35 minutes is an indicator that your craving for data is approaching its peak with little consideration for the survey participant.

Some had predicted that online surveys completed from mobile devices would approach 50%. In an era where mobile devices are displacing computers, long survey questionnaires are just a sin.

SLOTH

Put it simply, edit, edit, edit! Mistakes won’t make you look slothful to respondents, just demonic. Furthermore, on the side effects of sloth, a good research practitioner explained:

But the problem is rarely “bad respondents” – instead the problem is lazy researchers.  When people discover that the survey they just agreed to take is boring, tedious, repetitive, or too long, they either quit altogether or they stop providing good answers. As I’ve stated many times in the past, when it comes to data quality, the burden should always be on the researcher first.

WRATH

You want to defend your research project or the sanctity of your data. Full of wrath, you will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those unsuitable respondents who access your holy survey. Okay, maybe not Ezekiel 25:17, but you’re going to place a lot of screeners and trap questions to weed out the unfaithful.

Recent studies indicate the methodology of trap questions for surveys may not be as effective as originally thought. In reality, trap questions might have unexpected results—such as shifting the thinking of respondents to critical thinking from “optimal thinking” (that is the state of mind they reason as they normally would in daily life, which is typically necessary for reliable data).

There are other analytical ways to evaluate respondent data that don’t include placing land mines in your questionnaire.

GREED

Budgets are rarely fun, unless you’re working on the next Marvel film or you’re a Congressman(not from the state of Illinois). At the same time, a sense of greed within you assumes that the internet ought to make research economical.

Therefore, you skimp on incentives. Bad move.

Some reports claim that 175,000 online surveys are conducted a day. This volume has influenced a drop in participation rates to historic lows, which some estimates to be at 2%. On the other hand, studies have shown that the proper incentive will have a positive effect on survey response rate. We touched base on this topic on a previous blog.

This form of avarice can be avoided by rewarding your respondents properly for their time, and never assume they care about your brand as much as you do.

ENVY

Okay, you’ve done all this work and soon respondents will joyfully complete surveys, while vying for an iPad, that trip to Hawaii or Starbucks gift card. You say to yourself: “this is a lot for a 40min IDI or telephone interview and it’s all from my blood, sweat and tears”.

This attitude of envy will harm your research project. You’re not just envious, you lack empathy—the key ingredient for a successful online survey questionnaire. As stated in a previous blog, empathy is significant.

“Companies need to have more empathy for the research participant. The person(s) who writes the survey instrument should ask themselves if they could sit through that survey for 25-30 minutes. Companies should make surveys fun and engaging, regardless of the topic. They should test their surveys over and over again to identify the fatigue points in the survey. This is usually the area where data integrity is compromised.”

This quote addresses all the other deadly sins, mind you, because they all overlap. It certainly overlaps with:

PRIDE

Pride is also known as vainglory. It basically means you think you know better than everyone, including study participants. Pride has become a positive quality in western culture, but don’t let it fool you.

Pride also tends to stifle the ability to be open-minded. With all the tech innovations changing market research this year, such as eye tracking technology, social listening etc., don’t let your pride assume your ways are absolute and unchangeable.

The opposite of the Seven Deadly Sins are the Seven Heavenly Virtues. We’ll discuss them pertaining to online surveys in the future. Right now, though, avoiding the above list will likely create a paradise for your next online survey undertaking. Hell might not freeze over, but neither will your data.

Impact of Emotional Research

Emotional intelligence, although not to be confused with IQ or being emotional, is defined as the ability to be intelligent about your emotions. It consists of motivation, social skills, empathy, self-awareness and self-regulation.

Numerous studies have shown that the brain is built to adapt in response to good or bad experiences more than any other organ in our body. In other words, Emotional intelligence can be acquired and increased over a period of time.

Some Research scientists have been calling for Emotional Market Research and it is safe to say that the time has finally arrived. As consumer decision-making becomes more emotionally-based, successful brands will identify and utilize emotional values as strategic foundations for meaningful positioning, differentiation, and more authentic storytelling.

The future of business will be based on having a strong emotional connection with the consumer. Brands that adapt their research agendas to get a better understanding of the role that emotions play have a powerful advantage.

Examples of Emotional Market Research

WebCams: Three years ago, there were a handful of companies that provided or even scratched the surface of emotional research. Companies like Affectiva and RealEyes were the two dominant players in the space. Today, it is one of the top 5 emerging research methods, according to the latest Greenbook Industry Report. Webcams seem to be one of the more popular methods –typically placed in remote panels of users viewing ads or products in their homes or offices—they detect facial expressions and then provide what they call “emotional analytics.” In essence, the technology unearths the authentic feelings of individuals in real-time and intensity-level.

Eye-tracking technology: Ranked 9th on the list of emerging methods and becoming widely adopted by many research firms, these technology records conversations alongside an automated system analyzing eye movement. From a selling standpoint, eye-tracking software deciphers a potential customer’s preferences in regard to webpage layout, brand placement, or even the product itself. Some studies have eye-tracking technology correctly identifying the honesty levels of subjects at an 83% accuracy level.

In a way, eye-tracking technology is a form of online survey, albeit in a different language, able to measure the intimate tastes of respondents.  In fact, online surveys and eye-tracking technology could be a marriage made in marketing heaven, as their union truly focuses on a key issue in any manner of research sampling: honesty.

Neuromarketing:

Using big data, transaction data and social data along with conscious and unconscious mind shopping behavior data presents a new single view of how marketers may be able to influence behaviors.

Ultimately, the goal is to develop novel marketing models to integrate the best from big data analytics—as well as influence based on how brain stimuli relate to perception, memory, and decision-making. Big data may provide information on “what” people did, but neuromarketing gets to the “why” they did it according to swaying stimuli.

There are other, smaller examples, such as utilizing GPS technology to record the actual movement of shoppers instead of relying on their memories later on in a study. QuestionPro has added a number of innovative tools to the mix as well, including “Live Discussions”, which harnesses feedback, using a custom, real-time, qualitative platform to probe deeper into a respondent’s mind. Conversational Form, which is currently in beta, combines Artificial Intelligence and innovative techniques to humanize the survey experience in a chat-like conversation to capture better user responses.

While there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to emotional research, the technologies are still developing and methodologies are being perfected. However, the subconscious resistance to emotional research remains. Not embracing this form of research, however, could negatively affect customer experience, which has a huge impact on overall business revenue.

Best Moments in Research of 2016

As 2016 comes to an end, we have been doing a bit of reflection and making New Year’s resolutions  along with the rest of you. All year long we have been researching an array of topics and presenting them in our distinctive qSample style. We have conducted research with both our general panel and specialty panels, in order to share key findings in a multitude of industries. This year has been amazing and we already have plenty of new topics to explore in 2017. As always, if you have any studies you will like to conduct using online sample just send us a  message. However, if you are looking for more research ideas or just curious of our finding, check out our best infographics of 2016.

Ingredients To Surveys Consumers Will Actually Want To Take

We started 2016  by sharing insights on how to create a survey that warrants the best response. We are experts in crafting surveys to gather optimum results, so we wanted to share some of our strategies with you. Always remember that you want to keep the participant engaged. This can involve incentives and survey design. Also, if you need sample to conduct your survey we are always here to help. This infographic was a great starting point to our year and we hope that it is helpful to you in 2017.

 Mind Blowing Text Message Statistics

We took the opportunity to explore a commonly overlooked form of marketing – text messages. Text messaging applications are the most used app on smartphones, however they are not a popular platform for email marketing campaigns. This infographic may persuade you to focus more on mobile marketing efforts.

Outlook: Presidential Election 2016

We could not neglect one of the most landmark events of 2016. As the president of qSample, Rudly Raphael says “presidential elections are known to provide good theater…but this year was filled with some interesting twist and turns.” We conduct a survey with our voters panel to predict the results among the general population in comparison to the battleground state of Florida. We followed up with a blog that evaluated polling methodologies titled “Whose Poll is Right?”. We expect our voters panel to thrive as 2017 represents a major year of transition on the political scene.

Pet Food Trends: Humanizing or Jeopardizing the Health of Your Pets?

Our veterinarian  specialty panel truly makes us unique when it come online sample. We decided to survey the panel on their thoughts about  major pet food trends. Consumers are currently bombarded with endless pet food options. We learned that veterinarians still recommend scientifically formulated pet foods. Find out why in the infographic.

You Only Live Once: Millennials’ Travel Spending Habits

Most recently we conducted a survey of travel spending habits of each generation. We discovered that millennials are not as impulsive as we may think. They take more time to plan their trips than any other age demographic. That was just one of our many interesting findings. We followed this study by researching in-flight purchases and brand loyalty. Keep this research in mind as you pursue your travels in 2017.

As you can see we were very busy in 2016. Our resolution for the new year, is to research even more pivotal shift in market research and continue to provide the best online sample out there. Happy New Year, we hope to partner with you on a research project in 2017!

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For more information about how to conduct research with us, please email sales-team@qsample.com

Classroom Technology: Engaging the Internet Brain

In the past, teachers have punished students for checking phones and tablets in the classroom, and even banned those devices entirely. Many universities continue to claim that smartphones, tablets, and laptops provide more of a distraction than an aid to education, but with access to so much information, literally at their fingertips, is technology in the classroom really such a bad thing?

Technology can be distracting, but the real issue is content and engagement. Just as in marketing, educators need to understand their audience and convey their messages appropriately. The student population is primarily comprised of millennials, and this is the internet generation. More than 60% own smartphones, and 75% even use them in bed. The last thing they see at night and the first thing they see in the morning is a screen. Technology is simply hard wired into their lives. With so many sources of stimuli, and constant bombardment of information, they’ve been trained to process data at unprecedented speeds. The benefits of this obvious, but one of the drawbacks is that it’s difficult to capture the attention of a content-oriented brain. Multitasking isn’t just a skill of the millennial. It’s a necessity, and educators must understand that 3 hours of reading lecture notes in a monotone voice isn’t the way to reach them. While students can easily process and retain the information that most lectures provide them, many teachers present it in a way that is incompatible with the internet brain. Traditional educational techniques are simply outdated and inappropriate for relaying information to students that grew up with the internet. This concept is fairly simple, and most teachers notice it while working with students in the classroom, so why are they still using outdated devices and techniques?

Naturally money is a factor. Up-to-date technology is typically expensive, and for many underfunded schools, the budget is already stretched to the breaking point before they consider upgrading. Projectors and smartboards can easily cost several thousand dollars per unit, and wireless internet to support browsing for large groups of students can add up quickly as well. The general mindset is to cut costs by extending the lives of outdated equipment, but this is a terrible mistake. While early millennials experienced both the pre- and post-internet worlds, current students haven’t. Their concepts of how information should be presented are vastly different than any generation before them, and universities must adapt. Investing in modern engagement tools is essential for achieving results.

Many devices are available, from interactive chalkboards, to ereaders that eliminate the need to carry bulky textbooks, but classroom technology isn’t limited to physical devices. There are a broad range of sites, programs, and applications that are available to teach and engage students. In many cases, these options are preferable to schools as they can be very cheap, and implemented on tablets, laptops, and smartphones which are already owned by most students.

Training is also a major factor. While it’s second nature for students to integrate with cutting edge devices, teachers usually require more effort and instruction to overcome the learning curve. This costs valuable resources that schools aren’t usually willing to dedicate to unproven tools. Older teachers especially seem to have a hard time, but can learn and flourish when given proper instruction.

Better engagement isn’t the only advantage of technology in the classroom. It’s also been shown to improve self esteem and skills in: accountability, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, global awareness, ethics, leadership, innovation, productivity, self-direction, and problem solving.

It’s very easy to say that technology is distracting, and that it should be banned from classrooms, but such a heavy handed snub of extremely powerful learning tools is foolish and shortsighted. Technology has been shown to improve self-esteem and attention span while preparing students for real world demands. It gives students and teachers an unprecedented access to information at the tips of their fingers, and it can be far more engaging than traditional methods. The millennial generation needs to receive information in a way that is compatible with their internet brains, and the only way to properly do that is through technology in the classroom.