While food marketers have been using online consumer panels to provide feedback about purchase intent for new product concepts for a while, uSamp’s new Instant.ly mobile concept testing app enables firms to engage with hundreds of target shoppers via their smartphones in real time - at the point of purchase, uSamp’s VP of product innovation Justin Wheeler told FoodNavigator-USA.
Feedback about purchase intent when people are in the cereal aisle vs a focus group is very different
More than 380,000 consumers in the US and 100,000 in the UK have downloaded uSamp's app to their smartphones, and agreed to participate in real-time market research tasks, said Wheeler.
So let’s say a cereal company wants feedback on some potential line extensions. By using templates, it can quickly load up a range of concepts and questions onto the Instant.ly platform and then identify target shoppers in uSamp’s database (which collects 180+ attributes from demographic data to purchasing behavior) that it wants to approach.
When these shoppers visit a grocery store, they receive a push notification on their cell phones asking them to take a look at the new cereal concept(s) on their phones as they shop the cereal category, said Wheeler.
And the kind of feedback you get about purchase intent when people are standing in the cereal aisle compared with what they tell you at home or in a focus group can be very different, he said.
“It’s out of context when they are at home sitting on the sofa or at a focus group in a hotel.”
To start with, you could do early stage screening
The Instant.ly concept testing app can help brand managers narrow down options rapidly and cost-effectively at the early stages of the product development process so that the right products are put in front of focus groups later on, he added. But it can also be used at every stage of the process.
“So to start with, you could do early stage screening of your product concepts with hundreds of online panelists [at home] for an early read, and then once you’ve honed in on which ones have the most potential, you can then pitch these to cereal category buyers in real-time as they stand in the cereal aisle.
“Then in the next stage, you could send prototype products to people at their homes and ask them to evaluate them, or [if a product has been launched in a test market] ask them to buy the product, evaluate it at home and provide instant feedback.”