Consumer Qualitative Research: A Look at New and Time-Tested Techniques

by | Published on Jun 15, 2021 | Digital Transcription

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Qualitative Research

Consumer qualitative research is about gaining insight into a certain topic or problem by exploring and analyzing customers’ opinions, values and beliefs. Unlike quantitative research which uses laboratory experiments and statistical tools, qualitative research relies on interactions with people to find answers to questions. Digital transcription services are used to document the audio/video recorded interactions so that the valuable information can be analyzed to arrive at conclusions.

With so many competitive products available in the market, businesses are naturally nervous when they are planning to launch a new product. The question they want the answer to is: “Will my new product succeed in the marketplace?” Marketing research can help them find the answer.

Consumer qualitative research helps businesses stay up to date with constantly-changing consumer opinions and tastes, which is crucial to test and introduce new products and/or services or enhance and update existing offerings. For instance, anyone planning to commit a large budget to developing a new tech product would definitely want to know the tastes, attitudes and feelings of their intended audience. Thorough market research should be done so that the product will get a positive response from the target market.

Consumer qualitative research methods have evolved over the years, resulting in a wide variety of tools, methodologies, and techniques. In keeping with social distancing requirements and public health mandates, qualitative market research is conducted online. Phone or internet-based methods have replaced face-to-face data collection. Let’s take a look at the latest consumer qualitative research techniques:

  • Online Focus Groups: In a focus group, a selected set of people openly discuss their views about products, services or concepts. Today, focus groups have moved online, making it possible to collect information from participants in different geographical locations. Virtual focus groups are conducted on video platforms, with the moderator asking the questions and leading the discussion. Focus group transcription ensures that the interactions are documented for review and analysis.
  • One-on-one Interviews: In one-on-one in-depth interviews, open-ended questions are asked to get meaningful responses about a topic. This conventional technique is ideal for sensitive topics. In-depth interviews can also involve two respondents to see how each views the topic. Telephone interviews for market research can be completed quickly and come with high response rates.
  • Online Surveys: A lot of market research is now conducted online, even on mobile and tablet devices. One major advantage of online surveys is that they can be taken at a time that suits the respondent. They are less intrusive and more cost-effective than other market research methods. They can also include visuals and videos. The target audience can be sent out invitations to participate through online panels or customer lists.
  • Mobile Qualitative Research: With almost everyone owning a mobile phone, it’s easy why this technique is growing in popularity. It provides feedback as the customer is using the product. Participants are sent questions on their mobile device to get input about their experience and they can respond real-time through the same device. The main advantage of this method is instant feedback. People carry their devices with them all the time and can text and send photos of their experience regardless of their location.
  • Ethnography: This involves observing shoppers in an end user environment via an app on their phone. It allows you to see how the user actually engages with a product as the shopper can capture the task and upload the image on their mobile device. This qualitative research technique can promote immediate and impactful product tweaks (
  • Video Diaries: This is another online qualitative research tool to collect information-about respondents’ behavior and day-to-day activities through videos taken on webcam on a desktop or laptop, a smartphone or other digital audio/video recording device. The respondents report on what they are doing and/or thinking in a real-time environment. Video diaries are an ideal way to understand consumers’ behavior, perceptions, and real feelings in a particular moment.
  • Mystery Shopping: In this method, a mystery shopper or undercover customer goes to the place of business and reports back about real customers’ experiences. This technique is commonly used to understand service issues in the hospitality industry in banks, etc.
  • Social Media Communities and Bulletin Boards: Researchers can use bulletin boards and social media communities to effectively interact with respondents in a setting that is familiar and comfortable for them. Respondents feel free to express their opinions freely and honestly, which provides deeper insights. Bulletin boards are private online forums on which users can log in and answer questions and share information, ideas, and opinions.

As the first step, listening to these audio and video interactions is essential to understand and interpret them. But written records of these interactions are necessary to gain meaningful feedback. Digital transcription agencies can provide accurate written records of these interactions which will allow researchers to analyze them and get valuable information about consumers’ impressions, opinions, and views.

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