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This is the “out-of-the-house” version of ethnographic research. Whether it involves taking a ride through a series of fast-food drive-through windows to optimize a menu or shopping for faucets for DIY bathroom update, we take you through the mindset of consumers to fully understand their choices in the decision-making process. Environmental/retail shop-along research lets you watch the process come to life.

Turnaround time: 4 to 6 weeks, 2-3 days for proposal


Starting from $1,500

Why Choose Zeitgeist Research?

  • Qualified moderators are key. An experienced moderator can put the shopper at ease and to evaluate their behavior and choices. Zeitgeist Research moderators have decades of experience working in all types of qualitative research, including shop-alongs.
  • Recruitment must be spot-on. Conducting a shop-along with the wrong participant is a waste of time and money. We do our own recruiting from a nearby pool of qualified shoppers and then re-screen them when they get to the store to make sure we have the right people.
  • Our reporting tells a story: Zeitgeist Research’s expert, senior-level analysts, allow us to go much further, addressing issues and obtaining feedback from qualified customers where purchases and purchase decisions take place. We provide you with strategic recommendations to make informed business decisions.

Shouldn’t you be working with Zeitgeist Research?

Shop-Alongs: Ethnography On the Go

Customers don’t make purchase decisions in a vacuum, or, for that matter, with a group of strangers in a conference room in front of a one-way mirror. We recruit qualified shoppers and join them in an interview while they shop. Environmental/retail shop-alongs provide in-depth learning and generate true insight into shoppers’ psyches by exploring their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes in a real-world retail environment. Environmental/retail shop-alongs are ideal for:

  • Ideation and opportunity exploration. Are they finding the product they need? What else could we offer that would better meet their needs?
  • Concept development. What do they think about a new concept? How would they change and refine it?
  • Concept screening and retail copy pre-testing. Does the copy adequately represent the opportunity? Is it appealing?
  • Retail merchandising. What merchandise catches their attention? What merchandise are they actively seeking? What do they think about in-store displays, messaging, and promotions?
  • Retail Lay-Out.  How do different shoppers move through your space? What determines how they use the store?

Shop-alongs can be conducted in any out-of-home or office purchasing environment, including food venues, such as fast food outlets, mobile and wireless carriers (such as Verizon and T-Mobile), drugstores, mass merchandisers (including Walmart and Target), club stores, and even casinos.