As choices expand beyond belief it becomes important to understand the decision making process consumers use to make that final purchase. In order to do so, Liz Cox showed us how we can create decision trees to follow consumers through this process.
The Decision tree demonstrates how consumers shop in a category. They are use strategically (where brands compete, white space opportunities) and tacticfully (heling shoppers shop).
Consumers are put into a 3D environment online shopping experience and asked to shop as they would normally. They can pick up and read labels and make their decisions from there. This combines the attitudinal and behavioral aspects which are most important to develop the tree.
We all know decisions are made at shelf so it is trivial to reach consumers at this point. Consumers immerse themselves in this environment and this allows us to test different factors and manipulate the environment to derive these factors.
What happens when virtual shelves meet shopping decision trees? Do shopping behaviors change depending on the specific need? (Self vs. party, single candy bar that neve makes it home, etc.). Through testing online it is easy to change these factors and understand consumer tradeoffs. It is possible to aggregate this data to find trends across decisions. Certain shelves that are lower may be uncomfortable to reach and thus cause consumers to stray away from those.
This type of research has many opportunities for use and will become more important as we try to understand consumers in this evolving context.
Janel Parker, Market Research Consultant at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in Marketing and Psychology from Cornell University. Her previous experience at a social media agency combined with her knowledge from SKIM provide for a unique understanding of the relationships between social media and marketing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.