Retail strategy: The shopper insights of McDonald's, Wrigley, adidas and Syngenta

Jo Bowman

Retailers, restaurants and packaged goods manufacturers are discovering that much of what they assumed about the way people shop is wrong – and that they've been missing out on sales and repeat custom as a result.

That was one of the messages from the Shopper Insights in Action 2011 conference in Prague. A series of speakers looked at in-depth consumer research – combining footfall mapping, detailed interviews in stores, online forums and long-term studies – and the ways it is helping brands understand what makes their customers, and non-customers, really tick.

McDonald's

In fast food, McDonald's is using new insights into the way people feel about different elements of the dining experience to make some of its outlets more family-friendly. As the company plans to invest US$1 billion in capital expenditure in Europe next year, much of it on improving the customer experience in existing stores rather than on building new outlets, it is focused on giving diners a great time and bolstering repeat business. Dr Thomas Peck, Director, Consumer Insight, with McDonald's Europe, explained how, in partnership with TNS, the company looked at the experience of different people within families – a vital segment for the chain – in the whole experience, right from the walk down the street and approach to the store, through entry, queuing, ordering, eating, and the inevitable children complaining to parents when it was time to leave.