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Testing a mobile Application for a retailer in China

Retail in China: Context of the market research.

Our client is a European retailer already present in China through more than 150 shops. As part of their expansion in China, they wanted to adapt their already existing mobile application to the Chinese market.

They prepared a list of functionalities for the application aimed to be used before, during, and after the act of purchase. The list included, for example, a service helping consumers to define the product they look for by answering a series of questions, scan to get access to detailed technical sheets of the products, and an online chat for customers that operates 24 hours a day.

The retailer contacted Daxue Consulting to define the features its mobile application must have to meet Chinese consumers’ expectations, to design an application optimized for the Chinese market.

Steps of the market research – Retail in China

Daxue initially conducted a preliminary research of existing data in the client’s market to prepare the focus group research. From the focus group discussions, we created a mapping of Chinese consumers’ preferences and provided our customized recommendations for the application of our client. The phases presented below show the topics Daxue researched, and the methodologies used to collect first-hand consumer insights.

  • Phase 1. Preliminary research

Daxue’s team performed a preliminary research about the market of our client, its competitors, key consumer target and potential distribution structure in China. This short phase of desk research enables us to optimize every step of the focus group research.

  • Phase 2. Preparation of the focus groups

Daxue Consulting organized a total of four focus group discussions: two in the first-tier city Shanghai and two in the second-tier city Hangzhou.

We targeted a sample of Chinese consumers according to criteria defined in collaboration with our client: focus groups participants should be customers of our client’s brand and likely to use mobile application. We also aimed to create a sample that represents the different consumer groups of our client.

The preparation included comprehensive discussion guidelines and a trained moderator.

  • Phase 3. Focus groups: Collecting Chinese consumers’ insights for concept validation

The focus groups, held in a room provided and prepared by Daxue’s team, lasted two hours in average and proceeded in two steps. The purpose of these focus group discussions was to assess market acceptance of the features our client could implement in its mobile application.

The first step aimed to identify Chinese consumers’ consumption behavior and pain points. Participants were asked to talk about their needs, how they prepare before buying, their shopping experience in our client’s shops in China, what happens after the act of purchase, what annoys them, and what could be improved according to them.

During the second step, participants ranked the various functionalities of the list provided by our client. Our team also asked them to comment each of the features and to choose the most important one in their opinion.

  • Phase 4. Mapping consumers’ insights and reporting

After the focus group discussions, our team transcribed the verbatim and coded them to complete our analysis. We produced a mapping of Chinese consumers’ preferences about App features, combining their needs with the level of attractiveness of each functionality.

We identified the App features that have the best match between consumers’ needs and interests and provided our client a final report with our findings and our conclusions. Our customized recommendations included which functionalities should be implemented as a priority to meet Chinese consumers’ expectations.

 For more information about our service and references in retail industry, get in touch with our project managers