Over The Shoulder Promises Deeper Consumer Insight

Andy Penfold

Consumer research company Egg Strategy has announced a tool that it says allows companies to gain consumer insight at the time of purchasing, via a smartphone app. 

The technology, called 'Over the Shoulder', is a permission-based app that allows consumers to tell brands what they are buying and how they feel about it as they make the purchasing decision, rather than after the fact. Egg Strategy says this method gives a much deeper level of insight into consumer behaviour. 

"Over the Shoulder allows us to understand what people are thinking in real time," says Tom Trenta, president of Egg Strategy's Chicago office. "Imagine being able to invisibly conduct a research study with people as they shop, as they try on clothes or as they go to a restaurant or bar. We're offering companies a brand new way to tap into someone's head."

Consumers have to be invited to join the marketing scheme, and must opt-in. Once invited, they can download the app for their iPhone or Android smartphone. 

Beer brand MillerCoors has already used the technology. Sarah Ross, marketing director of innovation at MillerCoors, says: "We are constantly looking for new ways to gain insight into how guys make their beer choices. When using this tool, we heard guys tell us things we'd simply never hear in traditional research. We're considering a whole new brand to fill a need that we'd never quite seen before."

Elina Veksler, director of new product development meals and enhancers at Kraft Foods, worked with Egg Strategy to use the tool to gain insight into the dining habits of adventurous eaters. "First, it was an amazing tracker, showing us the time and location of every meal from our participants," she says. "But beyond that, Over the Shoulder gave us great insight into the feelings and emotions that people experienced at the exact moments they were cooking and eating."