How to Measure Shopper Strategies
A feature story on the Versta Research website is about mapping shopper segments onto buyer segments. That story may have had you asking how we measured and defined those segments in the first place. The answer: by devising careful and nuanced survey questions to capture what our qualitative research partners learned about how consumers assess, negotiate, and decide on the specific type of purchase we were hired to investigate.
Fast forward to this spring. We just reviewed an article in Public Opinion Quarterly about voter decision strategies, and the parallels to our featured work were striking. The authors had the express purpose of creating a self-report scale that could be used to measure decision-making strategies. They did the hard work of selecting and refining which questions to use, and then assessing the validity and reliability of their measures.
Their decision-making topic is about choosing candidates in elections, and some of the questions clearly reflect that specificity. But the strategies they describe apply to all kinds of decision-making.
Here’s our recommendation. Take these questions (they are all designed to be administered as agree/disagree statements) and experiment with adapting them to your own topic:
To Measure Rational Choice Decision-Making
- When I have an important choice to make, I like to gather as much information as I possibly can.
- If I learn something about one candidate running for office, I try to find out the same information about other candidates.
- I find it important to carefully consider all likely alternatives whenever I am making a decision.
- When I have to make a quick decision, I try to be as objective and balanced as I possibly can.
To Measure Confirmatory Decision-Making
- All I need to know when making a tough political decision is what party a candidate belongs to.
- The parties are so polarized and distinct today that it is hard for me to imagine ever voting for a candidate from another party.
- I usually see mostly good things about the candidates from my party and many bad things about the candidates from other parties.
To Measure Fast and Frugal Decision-Making
- There are only one or two issues I really care about in most elections. I make my decision by comparing the candidates on those one or two issues.
- Whenever I have to make a tough choice, I focus on the most important aspects of the decision and leave it at that.
To Measure Heuristic-Based Decision-Making
- Choosing a familiar candidate is an easy way for me to make a reasonably good vote choice.
- If one option meets my needs I will save time and go with it without really looking at others.
- In deciding how to vote, I often follow the recommendations of people or groups I trust.
To Measure Gut Decision-Making
- When making decisions, I usually just go with my gut.
If you are ever in need of survey questions to measure decision-making strategies (of any sort), this POQ article will provide an excellent starting point for your design.