Accompanied Shopping Trips (ASTs)?
What is an Accompanied Shopping Trip?
Accompanied Shopping Trips are a research technique where a moderator shadows a consumer on a shopping journey around store(s). Its main purpose is to provide deep insights on exactly how shoppers go about buying things.
How are Accompanied Shopping Trips undertaken?
Ideally the moderator takes a passive stance, trying to minimise the effect their presence has on the way the respondent behaves. Significantly, however, some light conversation whilst shopping can help to keep respondents in ‘automatic mode’ where they don’t overthink what they’re doing. This is particularly the case when buying products where customers largely shop on autopilot, e.g. grocery or window shopping for clothes.
These moment of ‘light conversation’ are also an opportunity to discover nuggets of insight about wider lifestyles, attitudes and motivations.
How do I get the most from Accompanied Shopping Trips?
It is important to set the Accompanied Shopping Trip in a ‘real-life’ context as this minimises the chance of over-rationalised responses. The easy way to achieve this is to recruit someone who is genuinely in the market for the item you are researching. This means the research can avoid artificiality and means all the micro factors which you take into consideration when you have to ‘live’ with your purchase come into play.
Many projects benefit from a sub-sample of respondents wearing eye-tracking glasses and/or biometric equipment during the shopping trip – these providing a revealing glimpse of what shoppers really see and feel during the session. Footage from these is also very potent in communicating the results to stakeholders and ensuring they take action on the back of the findings.
What projects could Accompanied Shopping Trips be used on?
Over the years, we have conducted thousands of Accompanied Shopping Trips. Whilst these have obvious benefits for ad hoc studies they are also a perfect complement to store exit tracking studies where they provide detailed insights on the ‘whys’ behind the shifts in scores that occur across waves – meaning stakeholders know the actions they could take to boost performance.