The Data Digest: Are Consumers Using Their Mobiles To Shop?

Since the dawn of mobile commerce, retailers have dreamed of leveraging mobile phones to deliver an immersive multichannel experience for in-store shoppers. And finally the time seems right. With the uptake of smartphones, it has become much easier for both consumers and retailers to add mobile phones to the purchase process. Retailers have been busy developing mobile web versions of their online stores as well as dedicated mobile shopping applications for iPhone and Android phones.

But how many consumers are using their mobile phones for shopping-related activities? Our Technographics® research shows that about 6% of cell phone owners have used a shopping application. Dedicated shopping applications that allow consumers to research and purchase products directly from their phones, like the ones from or Domino's Pizza, drive uptake and usage.

It is tempting for retailers to use this technology solely for marketing purposes; however, organizations should focus on services that enhance the customer's multichannel experience. Balancing informative notifications with marketing offers will build trust with customers and lead to better acceptance, as well as higher uptake.

What Happens To Our Traditional “Crutches” As We Adopt New Methods?

I have been chipping away at a unique research project for quite a few months now. This particular project has me diving into a data set comprised of respondents who have taken our Technographics® mail surveys for the past four years. My plan is to examine the technology behaviors and attitudes of these individuals over time, exploring things like how they adopt technology and how their attitudes change (or don’t change). While the exercise is challenging, and at times utterly maddening, it got me thinking about the role of trending and other traditional research approaches in the world of “new” market research (MR). Referring to trend lines created in quantitative surveys has been a staple of traditional market research, and benchmarking one year’s numbers over another is a must-have in any report. But do these traditional research activities still fit into the world of new MR? And if so, how? For instance:

  • What happens to trending? New methods such as social media monitoring don’t lend themselves to trend lines and cohort analysis very well yet. Does this mean we need to pivot our thinking away from leaning on trends to “normalize” our data? Or do we need to establish new benchmarks?
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Forecasting Best Practices Lesson 1: Definitions — And Minding Your Apples And Oranges

I had the pleasure of speaking with a number of Forrester clients at our Consumer Forum last October. Nothing is more invigorating than discussing the needs of the day and applying our research to solve business problems. I presented a session on the use of forecast data and thought I’d share some of that material with you.

 The first lesson I’d like to share is about definitions. Before going very far with any forecast data, make sure you know what it is that’s being forecast. This may sound simple, but definitions can be challenging sometimes; local conventions may create wrinkles in understanding, and each company makes a decision on where to draw lines around a category or behavior. For example, the Forrester Research Online Paid Content Forecast, 2010 To 2015 (US) refers to a video category. When we define the audience for online video, we include people who watch user-generated content as well as films and TV because we see all of these people as a potential paying audience for online video. This is important to know because that distinction expands the audience by more than 20 million online users.

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The Data Digest: Enterprises Also Dip Their Toes In Mobile Apps

During the past 24 months, the industry has seen an explosion of activity and development on the new generation of Android and Apple mobile phones and most recently tablets. In the report 'Mobile App Internet Recasts The Software And Services Landscape' Forrester estimates that the revenue from paid applications on smartphones and tablets was $2.2 billion worldwide for 2010.

With all this activity and excitement, enterprises are jumping on the app bandwagon to reach customers and bolster the brand. Forrester’s Forrsights Software Survey, Q4 2010 shows that IT is stepping up its mobile app plans. Forty-one percent of the 2,124 North American and European software decision-makers surveyed in October 2010 said that increasing the number of mobile applications for employees, customers, and business partners was a high or critical software priority:


However, this will not come easy to IT departments. One of the issues Forrester sees is support: Given the rate of innovation at both the application and device/operating system levels, IT likely has to support three to four releases per year. This rate of change will tax a whole range of IT processes from project management to release management and testing. IT organizations should look for external help to build a platform to support their companies’ mobile plans.

Our Take: What e-Reward’s Acquisition Of Conversition Means For The Market Research Industry

Late last night the market research vendor landscape became a little more consolidated with the announcement that e-Rewards reached an agreement to acquire Conversition Strategies. This is not the first, nor probably the last, move that e-Rewards will take in growing a versatile offering in the market research industry. In 2009, e-Rewards, acquired UK-based online panel provider Research Now, which allowed it to become an online panel provider with global reach. And in 2010 e-Rewards acquired Peanut Labs, which enhanced its panel by offering a social media specialty sample that is recruited and surveyed through social and gaming networks. The acquisition of the Conversition platform EvoListen will allow e-Rewards’ clients to listen and analyze, in a market researcher’s terms, what consumers are saying on social media.

 This announcement is significant for the market research industry because it:

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Summarizing The TDMR Event: Very Exciting Methodologies, Great Case Studies, But How Can We Take It From Here?

Earlier this week, I was in “tech geek” heaven because I had the opportunity to participate in IIR’s Technology Driven Market Research Event (TDMR) in Chicago. The purpose of the conference was to showcase how technology has generated new ways for market insights professionals to connect with and understand consumers. Over the course of the two days, the bulk of the presentations focused on two methodologies: social media market research and mobile research, with a smattering of additional presentations on neuroscience and gamification.

TDMR was a great conference. It brought together a core group of 200 market insights professionals who realize that although traditional research methods have their place, as an industry, we need to start understanding and experimenting with new methodologies. In addition, it highlighted how the industry needs to stop dumping data on our clients and instead deliver key insights, make recommendations, and present actionable next steps. These points were especially evident in Merrill Dubrow's high-energy presentation, which addressed how we are seeing an increased number of outsiders questioning how we do things and why we are so slow to innovate. As he stated — with even Glenn Frey’s song blasting in the background — the “heat is on” for the market research industry to change.

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