5 Things Woefully Wrong in Google Shopping Express Survey

google-shopping-expressGoogle shopping express is a same day (or next day) shopping service from Google. If you have not see this in your city that is because you are not in handful of cities it is being tested in. If you are in the valley it needs no further introduction. It is offered free for at least six months – that is no delivery charges, even when you order just a can of chickpeas or order 4 different chickpeas cans from four different stores.

I believed this was all a big experiment from Google – something more than a new business development. May be a experimental platform for them to learn more about us, our buying behavior, or test their logistics algorithm etc. It turns out they are really seeing Google Shopping Express as a line of business, something they want to make profit from.

I know this because of the recent survey they sent out, asking about willingness to pay, likelihood of picking different versions, purchasing behavior etc. And they offered $10 for taking the survey. What a survey it is! After such a huge investment to test the service, spending likely large sums of money on operating expenses and being known for having a supreme data collection and analytics engine they sent out a supremely mediocre survey to help decide something so important as next billion dollar business for Google.

I guess after all the infrastructure costs, driver salaries, and $10 bills for responses they ran out of cash to do a professional survey. Here are 10 things I find wrong with the survey, something your business should learn and avoid – whether DIY or when hiring a professional. (There are actually 25 things wrong with the survey, but I hear if I split that into five different articles I get more page views.)

  1.  Don’t ask respondents for prices they will payIMG_0152
    We the customers do not know the value – the value of single delivery or sum of values of many deliveries over the year to give a price. Asking for four different prices especially the price at which we will consider it too cheap is silly at best.
  2. Do not ask in a survey what you can find from secondary sources
    Last I checked we have been shopping for fresh produce and dairies for decades. Such data is already readily available from – in volume, velocity and variety (take that #bigdata). So seeking data that is readily available wastes a survey question and the answers they will get would pale in comparison to POS, US Retail and US Census data available.
  3. Keep the questions in a page related and in context
    IMG_0155Three unrelated questions – the third one to prevent machines from filling it out to get the $10 reward. Besides they repeat the mistake of asking about customer intent and expected frequency or purchase.
  4. Do not impose significant cognitive cost to respondents – that is keep it simple so we can grok it with no effort
    IMG_0157It may look like there are only four options, but pay attention to what they are asking us to do. We are expected to compare different delivery fees, delivery windows etc. This is highly likely a Conjoint Analysis question. Conjoint done wrong!
  5. Do not make free form text questions mandatory
    IMG_0181I understand you want to give us the option to write you an essay of what we think and you didn’t consider asking. But please make that an option and not force respondents to type an answer. What do you think most people are going to type – especially after a really long tiring survey like this Google survey? asdf?

You wonder how can a data driven company will resort to what looks like a DIY survey to decide on the fate of what could be the biggest competition to Amazon and deliver billions of new revenues.

If the outcome is important to you, shouldn’t you take the time to do it right?

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