Big data captured by retailers’ UPC scanners and customer loyalty cards reflect what has sold, but do not reveal why people made their selections or measure what people considered but left behind. Understanding shopper motivations and lost opportunities requires an approach that integrates three types of data that are typically kept separate: observations of actual shoppers; interviews about their attitudes, experiences, and motivations; and basket scans of actual purchases. This approach, called “quantitative ethnography,” draws on observations and interviews with real shoppers on real trips. This article will discuss how this methodology can drive action plans for manufacturers and retailers to stimulate more trips and larger baskets.
John Dranow is founder and CEO of SmartRevenue. SmartRevenue is a five-time honoree and Honor Roll member of the Inc. Magazine 5000 list of Fastest-Growing Private US Companies. John is also the co-founder of the New England Culinary Institute where he was named Vermont and New England Small Business Administration (SBA) “Person of the Year” and first runner-up in the USA. He has taught and administered at the University of Iowa, University of Missouri, Radford College, and Goddard College. John is the author of two books and holds a BA from Boston University and an MA and MFA from the University of Iowa, and was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Grant. He can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-733-9156.