Ipsos Retail Performance. Blog.

Understanding customer behaviour

Customer Experience

Observing and analysing how shoppers behave within different environments is vital if a retailer wants to improve its in store customer experience. Here, Jeni Dawson, shopper engage center of excellence manager at Ipsos Retail Performance talks through her position, and explains just how her team’s expertise provides the insight that allows retailers to better understand consumer behaviour.

Our job at Ipsos Retail Performance boils down to enhancing and shaping our clients’ business performance. Every aspect of our customer analysis, and the consultations and recommendations that follow it, has to provide real tangible value to retailers.

The team I work within is responsible for overseeing all Shopper Engage projects, delivering both analysis and shopper insights to clients across the world. These could be retail stores, banks, museums, petrol stations – basically anywhere there is a customer transaction taking place.

I have worked at Ipsos Retail Performance for a little over seven years now, and the diversity of our clients, and the varying markets they operate in provide very different challenges. In turn, this has resulted in my team and I gaining a wealth of experience across many sectors and specialisms. You also find yourself analysing your own shopping habits when you are out and about on the high street – which can be a little irritating!

When we first work with a new client, the starting point of any project is observational customer research, whether conducted using video camera technology or manually using human observers and digital pens. We set objectives with the client and capture the information required to understand where customers go, what they do, what they look at, touch, buy and where they interact with staff. The results from this consumer analysis allow us to inform clients on what works well, and what needs focus to improve the customer experience and ultimately improve sales.

We can assess the store layout and recommend changes that will enhance how customers navigate an environment, whilst simultaneously gaining a deeper understanding of a client’s specific customer behaviour challenges.

The psychology of shopping can take the process even further too. As an additional service to our behavioural analysis we are able to offer quantitative surveys, speaking directly to customers whose movements we have tracked in store to understand the reasons behind their shopping behaviour. Customer intercepts or exit interviews allow us to build a complete picture – what consumers say they do when shopping, cross referenced with what they actually do.

The psychology of how individuals and groups of people shop is of personal interest to me, with psychology having formed half of my combined honors degree. Utilising my academic experience and combining it with the practical skills and expertise I have gained in the last seven years allows me to deliver a unique analysis and insight into a client’s customer journey.

One of my favourite current projects is working with a high end shoe brand to help drive conversion within their stores. We’ve carried out our initial observational research and following our recommendations they have seen immediate improvements in sales which is hugely satisfying. Plus, it’s shoes so I’m in my element!

Jeni Dawson

      Jeni Dawson
      shopper engage centre of excellence manager
      Ipsos Retail Performance

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