POS Surveys Can Help Retailers Get Opinions While They Are Hot

Ann All

Like many folks, I've gotten store receipts with a note and accompanying URL inviting me to take an online survey. These usually offer some type of a small incentive for my trouble, such as entering me into a drawing for prizes.


It's an increasingly popular strategy with retailers like Home Depot, who find online surveys a far more effective -- not to mention inexpensive -- way of gathering opinions than more traditional methods such as mail and phone questionnaires. Home Depot claims to receive some 250,000 completed surveys a week.


Not only are online response rates higher than other survey methods, but it's easier for companies to aggregate, analyze and integrate the results with other data.


While this strategy appeals to me in theory, I find the reality less compelling -- especially when I am invited to contribute a virtual opinion while I am more focused on schlepping physical groceries or other goods. I rarely if ever bother to dig the crumpled receipt out of the debris in my bag. When I do, the time limit for taking the survey has invariably expired.


That's why I like the approach being taken by UK retailer the Co-op, which IT Pro reports will present short surveys to customers via its point-of-sale terminals in the checkout lane. The immediacy will likely mean increased participation from customers, and allows them to share feedback while it's still fresh.


In fact, the retailer will be able to incorporate current events into its survey. A Co-op executive mentions asking customers to help select organizations that will receive charitable donations from the Co-op. (The chain could also address more pressing issues, such as whether customers will strike goods made in China from their shopping lists.)


"Low cost and high impact, it's delivered all you could hope for from a project," says the executive.


Perhaps other retailers will want to adopt similar strategies, especially in light of the fact that so many of them are due for a hardware refresh. According to a recent eWEEK article, some 100,000 aging POS systems will need to be replaced over the next three years.

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