Options for Conducting Consumer H&W Surveys – Part I
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
As consumer needs and expectations around health and well-being are continuously evolving, it is vital that retail dietitians understand their target consumer to help direct programming. Conducting consumer surveys can help you with marketing and advertising strategies, social media tactics, website content, community outreach, store training needs, service offerings and promotional concepts. Asking the right questions and evaluating the feedback properly, will assist you with focusing your efforts in a meaningful way. The first step for conducting a consumer survey, however, is to decide which type of survey method to utilize. Here is a summary of 5 different options:
- Traditional Surveys – The first, and often least expensive way to conduct a survey is on-line. With this method, a link to a survey can be imbedded on your website, or sent to a large customer base. Conducting a phone survey is another way to gather data and this method does allow for two-way communication and the chance to probe more deeply into responses. Sending a mail survey is also an option, especially if you want to get feedback from older customers. This method, however, involves several steps and greater expense. To generate more participation, all of these survey methods can include a participant incentive.
- Intercept Surveys - During a typical retail intercept survey, an interviewer approaches customers at the store and generally asks them about their experience. Intercept interviews are often conducted using a tablet, laptop, smartphone app or geo-fencing (see below). For health and wellness purposes, both traditional and intercept surveys can be used to evaluate program awareness, customer satisfaction and potential areas of need.
- Competitive Research – Retail is an extremely competitive industry with many stores vying for customer business. By conducting competitive surveys, you can collect data how other retailers are positioning themselves in the wellness space. You can also identify their strengths, weaknesses and most importantly, opportunities for your own wellness strategies.
- User Experience (UX) – These surveys will pop up and try to engage a shopper while they are using a retailer’s website to capture the “user experience”. They are designed to gather information regarding the online customer experience and for wellness purposes, can help you gather insights on your website design, ease of navigation, topics of interest, meal planning needs, key dietary concerns, and more. For those retailers using eCommerce, understanding these factors can help provide a more positive user experience while driving customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
- Geofencing – Geofencing surveys create a virtual boundary around your store locations by using GPS technology. When someone enters the imaginary boundary, they are sent a text alert asking if they would like to participate in a survey about your store. This method allows you to reach customers soon after they shop your stores. This type of survey may be very useful especially if you are running a wellness promotion or new program to evaluate awareness, acceptance and satisfaction. Geofencing can be used to gather information about your own wellness efforts, as well as those of your competitors.
Whichever survey method you do choose it will be vital to ask the right questions and analyze the data properly. These topics will be covered in the next article.