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Capture Customer Emotions & Motivations While They Shop

Capture Customer Emotions & Motivations While They Shop


Mobile ethnography is a valuable research method that enables researchers to gain rich insights into participants’ behaviors and experiences. In the context of retail, it provides a unique opportunity to improve customer experiences and drive greater business success through real-time interaction, data collection, and analysis.

Remote mobile ethnography & retail insights

Conducting mobile retail ethnography

Depending on the objectives and the scope of the study, the timeframe during which research is conducted can vary vastly. Mobile ethnography studies generally range from a few days to a few weeks — far quicker than traditional ethnography studies, which can last months or years. Typically, the study’s length depends on the specific research objectives, the number of participants, how the data is being collected, and the amount of data needing analysis.

For example, researchers may find that they require a longer study that aims to uncover insights on customer journeys in physical stores, while other objectives like checkout processes and product displays may be much faster studies.

Steps in a shopper insights mobile ethnography study

The steps

Use cases for mobile ethnography

With mobile ethnography, retail companies can:

  1. Map out customer journeys
    Mobile ethnography can track how users navigate shopping experiences in-store or online. As a result, they can understand the challenges and pain points that arise from initial entry to final purchase.
  2. Optimize physical store layouts
    By tracking how users navigate stores, researchers can understand the natural flow of users through physical experiences and where users spend more time. Further, similar research can be translated to e-commerce sites to understand how users navigate an overall website and where they are most enticed.
  3. Improve product displays
    Findings may show that participants are attracted to certain displays over others; this can help businesses gather best practices on displays that will entice their customers at more points in the shopping experience.
  4. Enhance the customer experience
    By capturing data on emotions and feelings, researchers can pinpoint the gaps and challenges that users face by suggesting solutions that will improve the customer experience.
  5. Evaluate marketing campaigns
    Mobile ethnography can produce robust findings about how customers engage with advertisements and promotions, allowing businesses to understand the true effect specific campaigns have on users.

The benefits of mobile ethnography

Businesses reap hardy benefits from studies like these, including:

  1. Real-time data
    Emotions, decision-making, and behaviors are captured in real-time during the course of a mobile ethnography study, which helps businesses paint a more accurate picture of how customers are interacting with a product or service.
  2. In-depth insights
    Through mobile ethnography, researchers can interact and observe how participants navigate in-store or online experiences.
  3. Holistic perspective
    Through this method, researchers can amass a bird’s eye view of the customer experiences by seeing how multiple factors influence the customer journey.
  4. Practical application
    Findings from these studies can help improve layouts of physical stores and retail websites as well as product displays and customer service experiences, which leads to increased profits, better engagement, and enhanced customer satisfaction.


In conclusion, mobile ethnography is a valuable research method for gaining deep insights into participants’ behaviors and experiences, particularly in the retail industry. By leveraging shoppers’ mobile devices to gather in-the-moment insights about their behaviors, feelings, and experiences, mobile ethnography allows researchers to interact with their subjects to gather richer insights into the shoppers’ behaviors, thoughts, and cultural backgrounds. By utilizing mobile ethnography, retail companies can capture often hidden or unreported context and thereby improve customer experiences and drive greater business success.