BMGT 311 Assignment #3 (Saturday): Observation (Due 9.13.14)

Class,

Observation is a simple, yet powerful tool, in the field of Marketing Research and business in general.  Walking in your customers shoes, and experiencing what they experience, helps managers develop products and services that better meet the needs of their customers.

Observation is also a key component of human-centered design, or ethnographic research.  By observing customers in their natural environment, key things can be learned that otherwise may go unnoticed in a lab or in a focus group.  See the example below on how Nordstrom’s designed an app in their stores, learning from customers as it was developed.

 

Today, observation is difficult because we are often distracted by technology, and not paying attention to the world around us.  For this assignment, I want you to explore the world around you, around us, on campus, and observe humans in their natural environment for a few moments to see what you learn.  Go to one of the locations below:

1. Starbucks

2. Market Square Coffee Store, etc

3. Point Park Cafe

4. CVS

5. 7-11

While there, I want you to observe the people that shop or visit these locations.  I want you to note:

1. What type of person visits this place (demographic, behavioral)

2. Do they stay or do they go?

3. What type of items do they buy?

4. How do they pay for the items?

5. How would you describe the checkout experience?

6. Could you sense any frustration on the customer’s part?

7. Do you have any ideas to improve the buying process?

Please post your answers directly to this blog post – and we can discuss next week.  I look forward to the discussion.

Chris Lovett

 

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5 thoughts on “BMGT 311 Assignment #3 (Saturday): Observation (Due 9.13.14)”

  1. I observed Peet’s Coffee & Tea in the Waterworks shopping plaza in Fox Chapel on 9/9/14 from 12:45pm to 1:15pm.

    1. What type of person visits this place (demographic, behavioral)

    The majority of the people visiting the coffee shop were White men and women between the ages of 25 and 40. In the time I was there I observed only one African American male and on Asian American female frequent the shop.

    2. Do they stay or do they go?

    The majority of the people did stay at the shop for 5 minutes or more after receiving their drinks. Most of them were working on laptops or using their phones. The older customers seemed to prefer the seating outside and they were talking with each other instead of using any technology.

    3. What type of items do they buy?

    The majority of the people ordered cold drinks like iced coffees and frappuccinos which is not surprising on a hot day. I only saw two people order hot beverages. One ordered a tea and stayed inside at a table and the other got a coffee to go.

    4. How do they pay for the items?

    Debit and Credit cards were the most poplar payment method with only a couple customers using cash.

    5. How would you describe the checkout experience.

    For the most part everything was running smoothly at the checkout. The only issue I noticed was that the business was kind of slow and the employees sometimes would be doing other things behind the counter and not notice a customer right away.

    6. Could you sense any frustration on the customer’s part?

    There wasn’t any frustration that I noticed. A few people asked a lot of questions about the menu but they were answered and handled well by the employees.

    7. Do you have any ideas to improve the buying process?

    I the only things I think would help the buying process is a menu with better descriptions to limit the time needed to explain drinks to the customers. As well as better signage for the pickup and order counters. I witnessed several people mistakenly walk up the “pickup” counter trying to order.

  2. Location- Wood Street Starbucks 5:30- 5:50

    1. Demographic- Mostly students with a few other customers, possibly professors or business people from nearby. There was a majority of women over men.
    2. Do they stay or go? – In the time I was there, about 20 minutes, only 2 people stayed and the rest seemed to be rushing off to class or somewhere important.
    3. What type of items do they buy? – Three people bought a snack with their drink and one person only bought a bottle of water. The rest bought coffee or tea and that was all.
    4. How do they pay for the items? – One person paid cash, 4 people paid in Point Park Flex dollars, and the rest paid credit.
    5. How would you describe the checkout experience? – The checkout experience was interesting because someone took their order while another person rang them out and a final person made their drinks.
    6. Could you sense any frustration on the customer’s part? – Most people seemed to be in a hurry and were mad that the line was long. One person whispered to her friend that her drink was made wrong but she left without saying anything to the staff.
    7. Do you have any ideas to improve the buying process? – I think that the process is a smooth one for the most part and that the staff worked hard to keep the line moving forward.

  3. I decided to go into Starbucks on Wood Street after class to do the observation assignment. After I ordered my drink I noticed there were 4 workers in total; 2 girls and 2 boys. Only one employee was actually taking orders and making drinks while the others cleaned or were on a lunch break. Overall they seemed like they were in good moods; discussing job duties and what they were doing when they get off of work.
    There were a total of 16 female customers and 6 male customers (two were young children) and out of that total only 12 stayed in the dining area while the others left after they got their coffee. Most people paid with some type of credit card and one person possibly had a Starbucks gift card. Only about 5 people got coffee and pastries/snacks.
    The groups that stayed or were already there when I arrived consisted of a study group of girls, a pair of women roughly in their late 30s, a group of couples, and several girls were sitting alone listening to music or reading a book.
    One group stood out to me because they came in and were very loud in comparison to the conversations already going on. They were discussing the night before and one person in particular was leading the conversation and recounting his previous night of fun.
    A few customers who came in seemed to be slightly annoyed with the service that was a little slow because only one worker was dealing with customers. The majority seemed to be enjoying the beautiful Saturday afternoon.
    After observing the coffee shop I have a few ideas to help the business day to day. First I suggest that one employee takes the orders while the other makes the drinks, especially when the line in getting to several customers waiting in line. Also trying to sell the other products in the shop since the majority only purchased coffee or drinks. If the employees suggested a pastry to add to an order instead of just taking orders this can be another added value to the experience and is another step in promoting the other products.

  4. For this assignment I decided to observe people while grocery shopping at the Giant Eagle Market District in Shadyside.

    1. What type of person visits this place (demographic, behavioral)
    At the time when I was there it was mostly college students, age 20-24, getting last minute grocery items.

    2. Do they stay or do they go?
    Most stayed for at least twenty minutes to gather what they need and check out. I saw a few come in, grab one or two things and leave fairly quickly.

    3. What type of items do they buy?
    It really all depended on the person. Some just came in to grab snacks like ice cream and chips while others had carts full of a variety of items.

    4. How do they pay for the items?
    Since most were going through the self checkout they paid with debit cards.

    5. How would you describe the checkout experience?
    Since it was self checkout it was pretty quick and simple. However, since it was mostly self checkout lines open there were people packed around.

    6. Could you sense any frustration on the customer’s part?
    Not that I could tell. I could tell two customers were getting frustrated with the self checkout because they had to keep having someone come over and assist them, which isn’t a surprise with self checkout.

    7. Do you have any ideas to improve the buying process?
    Maybe have more registers open at night instead of just one or two and the rest self checkout. Some people don’t like going through the self checkout process and would much rather deal with someone personally. Well with only two registers open, the lines become longer leaving people frustrated and complaining about the number of registers open.

  5. For this assignment I observed the Starbuck’s in Market Square during my late lunch hour 2-3 pm.
    1. What type of person visits this place?
    There was a lot of different people that came into the Starbucks which surprised me because of the time of day. There were younger people that dressed in casual clothes and also some where in business attire.
    2. Do they stay or do they go?
    Most of the people that I saw left and the ones that stayed they were either on an electronic device or talking to someone.
    3. What type of items did they buy?
    The bought coffee and some purchased s bottle of water and there was a lady that bought a rice crispy square.
    4. How do they pay for the items?
    Some used cash but most used plastic.
    5. How would you describe the checkout experience?
    It seemed as though the line was running smoothly. The hold up was at the end where the line would pile up periodically while drinks were being made.
    6. Could you sense any frustration on the customer’s part?
    Maybe one or two customers got impatient but for the most part the atmosphere seemed to be light.
    7. Do you have any ideas to improve the buying process?
    I think that it might benefit Starbucks to have an on-line t ordering system. The line seemed to be held up while the drinks are made and I think that it would benefit the customer and workers.

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