Exit Surveys

What are Exit Surveys?

Exit surveys are a staple of many retail market research projects. They are a quantitative research technique which involves undertaking shopper interviews as they leave testing locations such as a store or café, using a structured questionnaire.

What are the aims of Exit Surveys?

Conducted straight after the experience, exit interviews provide the sharpest read of customer profile and the on-the-day customer experience – as well as gauging perceptions across key proposition dimensions such as price, service, environment and product range.

How are Exit Surveys undertaken?

Research interviewers stand on the threshold of a store and conduct a survey – aiming to talk to a representative sample of shoppers. The interviewer is asked to stand in a particular place and conduct the interview to exact instructions. Exit interviews need to be kept fairly short (ideally around 10 minutes) to ensure that customers are prepared to stop and be interviewed. To gain a representative spread of opinion it is important that interviews are spread across the trading week – and in approximate proportions with the footfall pattern of the business. Most exit interviews are conducted using hand-held devices – allowing information to be collated within hours of fieldwork taking place.

Exit interviews are a relatively expensive form of research, especially compared to online surveys, so big sample sizes can be cost prohibitive. As a rule of thumb a sample size of 400 is a minimum, with bigger samples needed if a brand wants to analyse results at a sub-group, store-type or business-unit level.

Exit interviews will increasingly be replaced with survey invites triggered using geofencing technology. Shoppers detected to be in a particular store receive a link sent via an app or SMS message to complete a survey.

What’s an example of an Exit Survey?

We currently use exit interviews to track the instore on-the-day customer experience for a number of leading retailers. Interviews take place in a sample of stores and, unlike customer experience surveys triggered after someone has made a purchase, allow the thoughts of both buyers and non-buyers to be canvassed.

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