Market Research as a Local Experience

I’ve written a few times this week about QR codes (see “How Will QR Codes Impact Market Research” and “On the other hand, maybe QR codes are already dead“). To me (and many), the most interesting aspect of a technology like QR codes is the ability to capture behavior, interest and intent in a hyper-local way, when a respondent is in the midst of an experience in a particular store, neighborhood, or so on.

That’s even more true of the NFC (Near Field Communication) technology we spoke about in the latter post. NFC chips allow not only for a local experience, but a passive local experience. That is to say, the user can participate without having to take any action (or very little action at least); their NFC chips is simply read as they enter the store, perhaps requiring a quick tap against a reader, but no UI interaction.

These technologies, and others that continue to emerge as mobile devices and mobile data networks evolve, all point to a time when detailed data about behavior, interest, intention, opinions, and more can be captured in real-time. Will that have an impact on market research? Yeah – probably!

As I mentioned yesterday, this reminded me of Novitaz, a company we spoke with back in November (see my interview with Jayant Ramchandani, the COO of Novitaz). Novitaz is building a technology solution that offers promotions from both brands and retail outlets to consumers at the time of their physical interaction with the product. Think of it as bringing the Amazon recommendation engine to your shopping experience at a physical Macy’s store.

I have no doubt that there’s an incredibly valuable business model in Novitaz’s solution oriented towards advertising and merchandising – that is, offering consumers discounts and incentives to encourage their purchase of particular goods, with the retailers and brands paying for the ability to reach the consumer at the time of purchase intent by way of the Novitaz platform.

But I can’t help but look at the Novitaz solution through the filters of our discussions about QR codes, Near Field Communications technology, and of course, market research. There’s a treasure trove of data to be had in measuring consumer behavior, and doing so in a way that doesn’t require the constant, active participation of the consumer himself. What could market researchers learn from data that measures a consumer’s intention in real-time, and also measures the factors that go into a purchasing decision? What could we learn from information about a consumer’s path through a store, and how various displays, layouts and so on impact their purchasing behavior?

The notions of “local” and “real-time” seem incredibly valuable when it comes to data collection, and it feels like we’re just on the precipice of unlocking that pot of gold. What do you think? How does this play out over the next 18 to 24 months?

About Joshua Hoffman

Joshua Hoffman is Technology Specialist at Microsoft and a frequent contributor to Research Access.

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