To remain ahead of the innovation game, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies must remain well-informed about the changing interactions between shoppers and various retail channels.
Our client was focused on convenience stores and came to us for a research solution to help them build strong relationships with convenience store operators/owners. The goal was to allow the client to immerse in the experiences, motivations, and lives of convenience store shoppers to aid in the development of future strategies and tactics for this audience.
We created a short-term community to help our client team connect with convenience store shoppers to provide feedback on multiple business questions. Given the various business questions the client needed answers to, the C+R research team chose a community platform with the flexibility and ability to incorporate both qualitative and quantitative research to enhance the community members’ experiences – a central home for various research activities.
Engaging Convenience Store Shoppers for Deeper Insight and Effective Campaigns.
A major CPG company partnered with us to help in building an online community that allowed the team to have constant and ready access to convenience store shoppers for various research projects, activities, and engagements.
The client team had already brainstormed several business questions that could yield critical insights and wanted the community to serve as a hub for innovation as well as for broader industry initiatives.
Our challenge was creating an environment that would provide answers to various business issues where community members felt they were part of a single initiative that would ensure continued engagement and deep insights. Additionally, research deliverables needed to fit various audiences, ranging from internal insights teams to store owners/operators to trade publications.
Specifically, our client wanted to conduct qualitative and quantitative research to:
- Explore perceptions, interests, and needs across convenience store shoppers and occasions
- Understand the impact of promotions/offers on perceptions and uncover areas for optimization
- Understand convenience store shoppers’ relationships with social media to develop campaigns to increase interest in product assortment at convenience stores
- Uncover the impact of word-of-mouth on loyalty
- Further understand shoppers’ mindset and their voices to inform future internal and industry initiatives
Cultivating Engagement by Personalizing the Community for the Convenience Store Shoppers
To help our client answer their important business questions, we developed an online community with approximately 800 convenience store shoppers across the U.S. Given the numerous activities scheduled for the community, communication during the recruiting phase emphasized the importance of participation for the duration of the community. To ensure community members felt like they were a part of something special and valued, the community look was personalized along with all communication and activity invitations.
Additionally, to foster deep insights and continued engagement, the C+R team designed the research to ensure each participant could participate in at least one activity and one journal activity per month. During several member touchpoints, the C+R team also shared visual representations of ideas members shared, research feedback, and how the client planned on implementing strategies based on research findings.
From Research to Strategy: Leveraging an Online Community in CPG Industry
During the four-month span of the short-term online community:
Given the short-term nature of the community, before the launch, the C+R and client teams collaborated to carefully plan the order of research activities to ensure the members felt the activities were cohesive, even though they covered a vast array of topics.
• Over 10 unique research activities were completed.
• Qualitative and quantitative research was conducted, including:
o surveys with open ends,
o digital discussions,
o online journaling, and
o hybrid research activities, melding a variety of innovative and engaging tools such as photo uploads with quick-turn-focused surveys.
The client was able to use the results of the research activities to answer several of their business questions and develop an overarching strategy geared toward building strong relationships between convenience store operators/owners and supporting internal new product development efforts. Additionally, the client used the research results to create several trade publications and industry infographics to aid in targeting the convenience store shopper more effectively.