How a research agency used a mobile ethno path-to-purchase study to understand parents back-to-school shopping journey.

As children and teenagers return to school each year, parents are required to stock up on the supplies required for the school year. This path-to-purchase traditionally encompassed a trip to a number of local stores to purchase stationary, books and clothes. However, the decline of smaller local retailers, coupled with the emergence of mega-stores and online-shopping have made it more difficult to understand the path-to-purchase involved in back to school shopping.


The Challenge

Because the way in which back-to-school shopping has changed, it has also become all the more difficult to understand the winding path that parents embark on in their purchasing journey. To really understand the omnichannel path-to-purchase of consumers, a fuller insight into their motivations, habits and experiences along the journey is required.

For our client, the challenge was seeing all of the influences on the customers over the full course of the purchasing journey. But to do so, they needed something which would allow them to really see how consumers acted and behaved in their journeys both online and offline, as well as pre and post-purchase.

The Goals


Our clients objectives were to:

  • Gain a better understanding of back-to-school shoppers motivations, influences and behaviours throughout their full path-to-purchase

  • Identify typical actions and behaviours of both online and offline back-to-school shoppers

  • Understand the increasingly prominent role that mobile plays in the online path-to-purchase for school supplies


The Solution


Working with Indeemo, our client created a path-to-purchase diary study that would give a, in-context periscope into the full shopping journey of back-to-school shoppers.

Over the course of a month, respondents first of all uploaded a series of selfie videos introducing themselves and revealing their thoughts and feelings about back-to-school shopping. For the second phase of the project, Indeemo’s ability to create separate target groups within the project allowed our client to understand how the behaviours and motivations of online and offline shoppers differed.

In addition, it also allowed our client to understand a third target group who engaged in both online and offline shopping.


Throughout the project, respondents used the indeemo shop to upload almost 250 videos, photos, text notes and mobile screen-recordings of their pre-store and in-store experiences, as well as their reflections on their journey. In particular, Indeemo’s mobile screen-recording feature gave an unprecedented insight into the role that mobile played in respondents path-to-purchase. Using the feature, respondents showed how the searched, evaluated and purchased school supplies online. Furthermore, it also captured how respondents made pre-purchase searches for product reviews online before making their final purchases in-store. Throughout all of these screen-recordings, respondents narrated their split-second decisions as they navigated search-pages and online stores giving an in-the-moment insight into their actions and behaviours.

If you’d like to learn more about how Indeemo can help you understand the path-to-purchase of consumers, please get in touch using the form below.

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We’ve supported researchers trying to understand the path to purchase for everything from smartphones to domestic appliances to cars to hotels to garage doors and aquarium filtration systems!

The one thing they all have in common is that the journey is non-linear, random and omni-platform.

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