It was only a matter of time before the modern technology of smart phones would be applied to market surveys. According to Wamda, a small start-up in the Middle Eastern country of Dubai has created a smartphone app called Task Spotting. The smartphone app allows companies to conduct market research at the point of sale, asking people with smart phones to answer a series of questions to describe products and shopping experiences as the transaction is taking place in real-time.
Traditionally market surveys are done separately from the actual shopping experience, which may make the accuracy of the data questionable. The Task Spotting app allows people to answer yes/no questions, short answer questions, and use a five-star rating system as they are making a transaction. Thus companies that use the smartphone app are given a steady stream of accurate market research data in real-time, allowing them to make adjustments instantly as needed.
Point-of-sale “is where FMCGs [fast-moving consumer goods companies] have the least visibility and least control,” says the founder. Further, according to feedback the Task Spotting team has gathered from client interviews, the traditional method of collecting market research – syndicated consumer data published by private research firms – is questionable. “The feedback we’ve received is that there are a lot of question marks around the accuracy of the information and about how representative [it] is,” Aly says.
Customers who use the smartphone app are given a financial incentive to complete the questionnaires, called “missions,” that range from the equivalent of five to twenty dollars depending on the complexity. The compensation is normally paid into a PayPal account.
The task that remains for the young startup is to refine the app to make it more user friendly while allowing it to acquire “deep insights” that customers require for their market research. The company is looking to expand its footprint to other Middle Eastern markets outside the United Arab Emirates, specifically Egypt and Saudi Arabia. It could be only a matter of time until similar real-time market research smartphone apps show up in the West as well.
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