Guest Research in Los Angeles and Denver
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel for work to visit Los Angeles and Denver. While not every position here at headquarters allows travel (or requires, depending on how you look at it!), it is one of my favorite parts of my job in the grocery area. I don’t particularly like airports, taxis or hotel rooms away from home and family but I do love talking directly with our Target guests.
For this research my team met pre-contacted guests at their homes and interviewed them in their living rooms and kitchens- environments that are familiar and comfortable. I love this type of qualitative research (called ethnography) because it gives us a pretty good idea of what their lives are really like, from their daily schedules and routines to the organization of the pantry and bathroom cabinets. The guest then takes us on a quick tour that allows them to point out certain products, show us how and where they store them, why they’re important , etc.
Afterward, we follow these guests to their local store for the “shopalong” portion of the research. This is where we ask them questions about what they’re shopping for or simply stand back and observe them “in the zone” of their shopping behavior — watching the path they take, what they pick up, what catches their eye, and their general demeanor as they shop our stores.
After all the research is completed, we’re able to come back to Minneapolis and really bring the guest to life through internally-shared videos and quotes. Part of my job is to advocate for the guest, and also share their perspectives and needs in their own words directly to the decision-makers within merchandising and marketing. We then use those insights to develop robust strategies for the future.
My trips to Denver and LA were successful in learning some fascinating insights from our guests of course, but the other highlight of my trip was easily our celeb sightings. At lunch in-between interviews one day, we curiously eyed several surreptitious people in hats and sunglasses that we couldn’t quite make out, but then we definitely recognized Helena Bonham Carter and my favorite actress, Amy Adams! We tried not to freak out and make fools of ourselves, but I’m sure that our group of market researchers from the Midwest already looked quite out of place among the A-listers of Hollywood. 🙂
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