Finding out stuff about online shopping. Designing a fruitful chat.


As part of collaboration, I plan to include posts that describe how I go about working with people to get results, insights or whatever it is I need to make a project better.

In this post, I’m going to describe a “chat” I had with some of the folk at work to inform some work I’m doing online shopping.

I hope these posts help inspire other people in designing similar groups.  And I would love to hear feedback on how I could have done it better!  Don’t hold back!


I needed to understand how consumers segment online shopping destinations and get a bit of a sense of how online shopping fits in to their lives.

I had a lot of ground to cover and a raucous group of girls.

This group went incredibly well, delivering some great insights.

Here’s how I went about it.


Everyone in the room has a stack of post-its and a pen at hand.

I have a sheaf of A3 sheets in front of.


Me: OK, to kick off, can you all write down the online shops you’ve used lately.  One to a post it note.  Just write down as many as you can think of.  Start with the ones you use the most.

This generated heaps (!!) of post it notes.

Everyone keeps their post it notes.


Me: (choosing someone very confident) “ Jen, Will you kick off by telling us, which store is your favourite.  Then try to describe that store in one sentence”

From here, I note down the first descriptive sentence and then work with the multiple comments from everyone else to refine it down to a sentence the room is more or less happy with.

Then I ask everyone to hand in any other stores they think fall into this segment.


So, for example, our first segment included mycatwalk and net-a-porter (among others) and we ended up describing the segment as “Highend fashion boutique with access to exclusive overseas designers”

Repeat with other stores until you have pretty much exhausted the post it notes in front of them.


We then interrogated a couple of segments.

“What do you love about this kind of store?”

“What do you hate about this kind of store?”

(Be prepared for some passionate answers!)


We then explored “When do you shop online?” which gave some interesting pointers in terms of when to connect:

–       When I’m bored at work

–       On my phone when I’m waiting for the train- apps are popular!

–        I was looking for a quilted jacket, googled it and browsed

–       The store sent me an email and I loved the jacket

–       A friend was selling it on a facebook garage sale

–       I stalk the sales in Europe- their summer stuff is cheap when we’re heading in to summer