Lead up to MRMW North America - Using Google Glass for Retail Research

Monday, April 7, 2014

Over the next several weeks, I will be guest posting over on the Market Research in the Mobile World blog.  I will highlight a select portion of the interviews here, but wanted to start with this interview on using Google Glass.  I especially appreciate the qualitative implications for it.  The full interview, along with future interviews can be found here.
Market Research in the Mobile World is coming to Chicago on May 27-30. I’m excited to be a participant because of the great cast that will be sharing. These folks are major clients and research innovators I have followed in social media for the past several years and learned from and been inspired by, all in one place!  Because I couldn’t wait to get to interact with them a bit, I have conducted a series of interviews with some of the speakers. Hopefully, this will give you a sneak peek into what the conference will be about, as well as some inspiration to motivate change and growth in your own market research practice. Here is my first interview, with Adina Daar and Kate Flaherty of Sachs Insights. They will be presenting a session on "Heads Up: Using Google Glass for Retail Research”. They will dig into how to use Google Glass to capture in-the-moment experiences in retail environments to better understand purchase decisions.
Renee: What should we expect to hear from you at MRMW North America 2014?
Adina & Kate: It was while we were exploring Glass in the summer of 2013 that we realized there was a greater potential in this new technology than just being “in-the-know.” Adina was making a quick stop on the way home at a local CVS and simultaneously wearing Glass when she realized the opportunity now exists for a second party to truly see a first-person perspective while shopping. We took the term 'Glass Explorer' literally and jumped into using Google Glass to understand a range of retail experiences with different audiences.
This inspiration led us to using Glass as a research tool for the first time and to take it beyond 'what if?' and into a 'what now?' way of thinking about new tech. We have a lot of footage of personal experiences from the research to share and anecdotes from the researcher and participant sides alike. As more people use wearable tools like Glass, we will also provide some practical suggestions for conducting qualitative research with new and novel tools.
Renee: What are the biggest constraints you've faced using Google Glass for research?
Adina & Kate: There is a learning curve to using Google Glass, and with any new technology it takes time to learn how to best utilize it. And as it usually goes, there are some tech hiccups along the way. There have been some limitations of Glass itself: the battery life is not currently up to recording more than an hour without breaks, the device does get hot after extended use, and things of that nature. Aside from those, the biggest constraints we have faced in this research process is knowing the best way to go about capturing what we want from this type of auto-ethnography and how to best structure an interview.
Renee: Getting past self-reporting and into actual behavior is such an issue in market research. Can you give us a preview on how you're using Google Glass to do this?
Adina & Kate: In using the embedded camera, we are able to eliminate some of the guess work (on both our end and on the respondent’s end) of trying to figure out exactly what cues and stimuli catch their eyes while shopping. We've also found that we can remove ourselves from the experience, which is more natural and also more true to the shopping experience. We tried out a few different approaches, but found that flipping the process on its head by capturing video of a shopper journey first and then reviewing and discussing it after helped in keeping things real.
There is also important insight in understanding the difference between reported and observed behavior, which is ultimately what people learn about themselves as a result of participating in the research - it's important for research and also a personal payoff for participants.

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