In the new normal, market dynamics are shifting fast and furiously to mobile shopping, increasingly challenging brands to get ahead of the ever-changing consumer. Unfortunately, traditional market research tools, like surveys and focus groups, fail to adequately engage consumers in vetting their offerings in the mobile commerce environment, according to this analysis and case study by Bill Bloom, CEO and Founder of qualitative and quantitative market research firm FastFocus.
Which product messages – features, images, packaging and copy – are most effective is highly dependent on changing market dynamics. Today, regularly taking the customers’ pulse is essential to gaining a significant competitive advantage. Brand stewards should ask: What’s changing and how does it impact my sector? My brand positioning? My go-to-market product strategy? What’s the underlying context of the shifts?
eMarketer projects that by 2021, mobile eCommerce sales will account for over 54% of all eCommerce sales. Meanwhile, the crisis brought on by Covid-19 has shifted the vast majority of shopping online.
As we move into the next normal, it is estimated that online ecommerce utilization will remain much higher that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic only 16% of retail sales were online. It is estimated that post pandemic, eCommerce will rise from 25% – 30% of all sales, with Mobile eCommerce sales rising to over 50% of all eCommerce.
Unfortunately, most businesses are unprepared to meet these changes. A 2019 study by XP2 found that only about 12% of consumers found mobile online shopping to be convenient. Clearly the majority of brands, and their agencies, have significantly under-invested in how they market, package and sell their products via Mobile eCommerce
Over the last few years, agencies and pundits have started to provide guidance for how to optimize eCommerce hero images and packaging. A few years ago, a partnership between the University of Cambridge and Unilever began to formalize guidelines, prioritizing the visualization of four basic product attributes: Brand, Format, Variant, and Quantity. These guidelines were more rigorous than previous ones, but they still do not include the testing of marketing and packaging assets, which only delivers a sometimes useful hypothesis.
Approximately a year ago FastFocus recognized the opportunity this presented for marketers. And we started the development of a solution to enable brands to optimize their creative content at all mobile eCommerce customer touchpoints.
By mirroring the mobile, e-commerce experience, our process enables brand stewards to determine which images and messaging will maximize online sales. Using a gamified experience to mirror the mobile e-commerce experience itself, FastFocus enables brands to measure their creative content at all mobile eCommerce customer touchpoints, giving them a sustained competitive advantage, while delivering a significant sales lift.
Our Mobile eCommerce solution enables brands to test and optimize all mobile ecommerce touchpoints from digital ads, to social media postings, throughout the sales funnel to the point of purchase, by engaging each respondent in an experience that closely mimics the actual purchase experience in the “wild.”
By using virtual currency and scarcity to mimic a real consumer experience we require each respondent to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each idea in relation to each other. This approach enables brands to predict what consumers will do, not just learn what they say they will do. The resulting prediction and preference survey environment more fully engages the consumer, encourages more thoughtful responses, and gleans profound insights quickly while minimizing survey fatigue.
As a result, participants provide deeper and more deliberate responses than they do via other traditional methods, such as Likert or Rank Order. Each respondent performs a simultaneous set evaluation in a scarce environment of token allocation, and the participant evaluates each idea in comparison to all other ideas presented. This indirectly forces rank ordering, but it also provides respondents the opportunity express their overall affinity and their level of passion toward specific ideas.
Once the respondent spends all of their tokens they are asked why the spent their tokens on the ideas they invested in. This enables our analysts to correlate the behavioral token investments with the respondents’ rationale for that investment. Altogether the entire session lasts a few minutes, which is very important.
The higher the engagement the better the resulting data. This interface is often described by survey respondents as “enjoyable,” “simple,” and “fun.” Respondents also noted that the structure helped them slow down to think through the available options, creating fertile ground for the more thoughtful insights that a researcher seeks.
The Passion Score, a Proprietary Algorithm
Once all the data is collected a proprietary metric, optimized to closely predict purchase intent, which we call a Passion Score is calculated..
This metric is created by exclusively focusing on the consumers who are most passionate about purchasing or who believe strongest in the idea’s success or failure. Additional metrics, such as Affinity and Controversiality, assist in adding color and providing direction for decisions based on these consumer insights.
In case analyses we find that Passion Score&tm;, Affinity, and Controversiality together capture a range of respondents’ preferences and beliefs that is more detailed than produced by traditional survey techniques. The Passion Score&tm; alone can often differentiate between ideas that might otherwise appear homogeneous, while Affinity and Controversiality provide a rich set of dimensions to understand potential consumers and inform investment decisions.
A soap company approached us in need of overhauling their online marketing strategy. They had confidence in their branding and a general idea of direction, but didn’t know exactly what messaging would appeal to an online audience. They created a blinded community, meaning their brand remained anonymous, so they could accurately study the responses of both current customers and non-customers.
After running a series of surveys and discussions to understand how shoppers discover, research, and ultimately purchase household cleaning products, they found that a majority of community members do their browsing and buying either on their mobile phones or tablets.
So not only did the company need to boost their online presence as they originally thought, they also needed to figure out a way to optimize their digital experience for mobile users. Combining these dimensions enabled the soap company’s team to learn what was truly driving consumer decisions on mobile. All it took was a single two to three minute session.
The FastFocus scarcity design, when combined with deep scoring metrics, provides brands a powerful tool to optimize every mobile e-commerce customer touch point. The speed of the application enables brands to conduct continuous “customer” conversation and constant optimization of their creative messaging and images.