Qualified users of a product or category or who frequent a targetedbusiness location need to be recruited. This can be accomplished at least two ways.
- Market Research companies typically have an existing panel for whom known demographics and purchase histories are known. An appropriate sample may then be further screened and contacted to participate in the research. Arrangements are made for the interviewer to meet the shopper at a designated time and place to begin the shop-along experience.
- On-site intercepts may be used to screen shoppers as they are entering a place where they plan to shop.
- Incentives: Cash is always a popular form of compensation, but for shop-alongs, gift cards or credits toward future purchases of the product may work as well.
As with other qualitative research methods, the sample size in shop-along research is limited. Rather than just projecting results to a general audience, it is a good idea to also analyze findings to gain insights for further exploration and testing.