Its Shop Sans Stops Now
Qualitative Marketing Research
Prof. Bhavani Shankar Submitted by:
Nikhilesh Murala 2012PGP212
The service industry is all about putting your clients first. And Shoppers Stop (SS) — the retail arm of real estate conglomerate K. Raheja Group — has stood fast by this motto. Its 7,500 employees are tuned in to just one principle — consistently deliver great customer service and, in turn, increase shareholder value. The Rs 2,500-crore chain has steadfastly kept its eye on the future by laying out its plans for a digital shopping experience. Thus far, the group has experimented with gift cards (―better than vouchers‖), a mobile app and social media. The upshot is that these haven’t cost it a bomb since the expenditure came out of what was marked for store expansion. SS intends to spend Rs 300 crore on 20 more stores by 2015, taking their number to 75. It is targeting a growth of 8-10 per cent in revenues by this year-end.
Increase customer activation programmes through in-store and evolving delivery channels by creating a unique shopping experience. Also manage business efficiency by training staff for leadership to increase internal associations with them.
Context and Significance
With the advent of online buying and price wars, customer expectations are evolving more in terms of higher levels of service and a drive towards simplicity. Much of the change is due to the smartphones that have fundamentally changed the way consumers go about their daily lives. Unmatched shopping experience with right prices and assortments is the need of the day to stay competitive in retail industry. Therefore new business initiatives through e-tail, mobile apps, gift cards and in-store promotional activities are very essential. Understanding their impact on consumer behaviour has profound implications on increasing the topline.
RQ1 - What are the various factors impacting the customers’ choice and preference of a retail operator? RQ2 - What are the factors that influence an in-store/online/mobile purchase over the other two? RQ3 - Does having a membership in a retail chain positively influence the customer’s choice of selection of retail chain during the purchase period? You may also want to know the role played by staff in ensuring that customers keep coming back to the store, as it is the experience that counts.
Data Collection Method
The problem at hand is to understand the choices and preferences of customers while making selection and purchase decisions in the context of a retail fashion and lifestyle chain. Therefore “In-depth interviews” should be used as a data collection method. The rationale behind the selection of in-depth interviews as a data collection method is because it is best for learning the perspectives of individuals, as opposed to, for example, group norms of a community, for which focus groups are more
appropriate (Most of our decisions are influenced by group in which we seek or have membership – formal or informal). They are an effective qualitative method for getting people to talk about their personal feelings, opinions, and experiences. They also provide an opportunities to gain insights into how people interpret and order the world. This can be accomplished by being attentive to causal explanations participants provide for what they have experienced and believe and by actively probing them about the connections and relationships they see between particular events, phenomena, and beliefs. Interviews are also especially appropriate for addressing sensitive topics that people might be reluctant to discuss in a group setting. To know the employees better and to understand what they think of the preferences of consumers visiting a retail store ―Focus Group Discussions” can be conducted for the employees of the chain. It also helps us gain better insights into what has to be done in order to successfully establish internal associations with the employees. What questions would you like to ask the employees in FGD?
Profile of respondents
The respondents of the in-depth interviews should be close to the following attributes. Middle-high income families (Can be specific about the income), above 16 years old, minimum of high school/undergraduate education, possessing computer/laptop with Internet, smartphone, possessing credit card/internet banking/mobile banking, brand affluent, tech-savvy, and moderate-luxury lifestyle. As your research question focusses on the loyalty of consumers who are members of the Shopper’s stop, you can collect those details from the outlet and then pursue research. A general crowd may or may not fit in your research purpose. The profile of the respondents is defined based on the prior understanding of the consumer groups associated with the research problem at hand. The attributes of the profiling are from the demographics of the consumers of the company along with their behavioural aspects. For the focus group discussions employees from different retail chains can be made to sit together to conduct the group discussions to better understand their feelings and thoughts about the customer choices and preferences.
Data Collection Guide
The key to the data collection in an in-depth interview is to make the participant feel comfortable. The interviewer has to take care in order not to intimidate the respondent but to utilize the opportunity to extract the complete and honest reasons behind the choices and preferences of the consumers. It is advised to use tape recordings, typed transcripts of tape recordings, and the interviewer’s notes. They help us document observations about the interview content, the participant, and the context. Typed transcripts are the most utilized form of interview data. During the data analysis phase of the research, after the data collection, transcripts are coded according to each question and/or to the most salient themes emerging across the set of interviews. While data is being collected interviewers use expanded interview notes to remind themselves of questions they need to go back to. where they need more complete information etc. They may also use them during debriefing sessions with other field staff and investigators and also during transcription of interview recordings, to clarify and add contextual details to what participants have said.
Relevant Questions How do you decide which retail chain to go shopping? Based on what factors do you make that decision? Which mode of purchase do you prefer the most? Why? Why do you prefer the above mentioned mode? Have you ever purchased from the other two modes – you have not given any options then which modes are you referring to here? Tell us about that day? Tell us your latest shopping experience? What do you think should be there to make it memorable one? How do you treat in store promotions? Do you make purchases when given a gift card? Have you ever made an online purchase from Shoppers Stop? If yes, why? Are you having membership in Shoppers Stop? This is where your research should start. Questions above become relevant if you increase the scope of research to include all such establishments. How does that affect your decision making in selecting the retail purchase location? Do you respond to personalized messages from the retailer? Are you a smartphone user? Have you ever made a mobile purchase from Shoppers Stop? Why do you go to Shoppers Stop and why not lifestyle? What do you like the most about shoppers stop? What comes to your mind when I say Shoppers Stop? What are your expectations from Shoppers Stop? Is there any benefit of being a loyal member of SS? What benefits have you experienced? Do you have memberships in other such establishments? If yes, how do you divide your purchases between these stores? In cases where face-to-face interviews are difficult to conduct, phone conversations can be done. Interviews with more than one participant also qualify as in-depth interviews but it is recommended to conduct individual, face-to-face interviews.
Data Analysis – Plan
Once the research questions for the study are prepared, broad topics on which data will be collected decided and the methods of data collection identified, we next proceed to the all-important part of data analysis. In qualitative data analysis there are five steps viz., compiling, disassembling, re-assembling, interpreting and concluding. In compiling phase we prepare the glossary of terms to be used. Then the grouping of data is done based on the source of data collected. Chronology of field days and interrelationships between two or more interactions etc. are done. After this read and review is done. One of the major tasks of disassembling is memoing. Also decision is taken whether to code or not to code during this stage. In re-assembling the data we look for patterns and we use matrices as array in reassembling data. The following procedures need to be followed during reassembling data viz., constant comparison, negative instances and rival thinking.
In the interpretation stage, we do description, description plus call for action and explanation. After the data analysis we do the concluding in several ways like calling for new research by providing questions or challenge conventional generalisations and social stereotypes etc. Based on the article ―Data analysis techniques in qualitative research‖ by Barbara B. Kawulich, there are five categories or stages of analysis. They are: Narrative, Coding, Interpretation, Confirmation and Presentation.
Expectations from the study
The study gives us the preferences of the consumers and insights into why they chose a particular retail chain for shopping and also why they chose the mode of purchase as in online/in-store/mobile and their thoughts about loyalty cards that helps us make decisions to increase the topline for the company.
1. source : http://www.businessworld.in/news/business/retail/it%E2%80%99sshop-sans-stops-now/1045426/page-1.html, accessed as on 19.9.2013 2. “Data analysis and techniques in qualitative research” by Barabara B. Kawulich 3. A Data Collector’s Field Guide from www.nucats.northwestern.edu