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When Shop-Alongs are the Right Choice

Great research is about asking the right questions, of the right people, at the right time. TrendSource shares views on when, how, and why to choose Shop-Alongs when seeking shopper insights.

What Are They?

A shopper, in tandem with an interviewer, visit a store together during a Shop-Along. The interviewer observes the shopper throughout his or her entire journey, from entering the store to payment. This qualitative research methodology is used to understand the behaviors and attitudes that influence the shopper’s buying decision at the time of purchase.

Why Shop-Alongs?

Shop-Alongs are one of the most versatile forms of market research, and are particularly useful in the early stages of many product maturity life cycles, or preceding any major change (such as product or packaging updates).

Shop-Alongs can help you answer key questions about your customer’s in-store journey, including:

  • Why are shoppers in store vs. shopping online?
  • What do they expect while in-store?
  • How do shoppers want to research and shop in-store?
  • What leads to a purchase or non-purchase decision?


Many market research companies conduct large-scale, quantitative customer experience research. Completing a small qualitative Shop-Along study before launching a nationwide mystery shop or audit program can save retailers tens of thousands of dollars in program design costs by ensuring the things that matter most to the customer are being measured.

When Shop-Alongs?

If you’re considering Shop-Alongs, you typically fall into one of two groups; manufacturers and retailers. Shop-Alongs can help you understand how customers react to products, merchandising, and packaging, and how the in-store experience impacts their buying decisions. Especially when:

  • You’re considering a store layout redesign
  • You’re introducing new products
  • You’re considering a change to your displays, merchandising, or packaging
  • Customer satisfaction with the shopping experience is down
  • Customer loyalty is declining
  • Sales goals are not being met

Click here to learn more about Shop-Along programs with TrendSource

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