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How a Boutique MR Firm Excels in Food Retail Research Using Online Qualitative


Ruikgrok NetPanel is a Dutch market research agency with over 25 years of experience in qualitative and quantitative research. Their clientele includes internationally operating companies like Coca-Cola and Afterpay, as well as The University of Amsterdam and the local branche of Vodafone. This success story examines how Ruigrok NetPanel use online qualitative research in the ever fast and dynamic world of supermarket goods.

“Within a week we got to know consumers and their cooking habits, and collected in depth insights, without having met them face-to-face.”

Meet the Team

Marije Bakker and Jeroen Hermans are seasoned research consultants at Ruigrok NetPanel. Marije, who focuses largely on online qualitative research, has been with the firm for over 5 years. Jeroen specializes in quantitative research and joined 4 years ago. For this particular project they teamed up and used their combined experience to get the best results for their client.

Marije Bakker (L) and Jeroen Hermans

The Challenge: Doing Qual Research During a Pandemic

In reaction to the global health concern around COVID-19 with a continued need for qualitative research, Ruigrok NetPanel wanted and needed to invest more in exploring online qualitative research. “For us, online qual and online communities were still niche methods within our complete portfolio. Now we are using it more because it helps us overcome the challenges of face to face research. But clients are asking more for it as well.”, Jeroen explains.

“It was really in the moment. Respondents shared lots of photos of their experiences. We gained rich insights in a very short period of time.”

With a client that needed to evaluate a food product offered in Dutch supermarkets while many consumers stayed at home during lockdown, the opportunity presented itself to leverage online qual to investigate.

The Solution

Because the client needed speedy results in order to improve sales before losing shelf space in the Dutch supermarket, Marije and Jeroen needed an approach that would give them the right insights within a short amount of time. In-store shopper research was not possible, so instead, they swiftly launched an insights community using CMNTY Platform.

Marije explains: “We invited a group of Dutch consumers to participate in a short term research community. Within a week we got to know the consumers and their cooking habits, and got in depth insights about this new food product, without having to meet the consumers face-to-face.”

Marije Bakker

They tasked the respondents with trying the product, and describing their experience online through conversations and evaluations.  “It was really in the moment. The respondents shared lots of photos of their experiences and our online community proved to be the perfect environment for this type of research. We gained rich insights in a very short period of time.”

The Impact

Looking back, Marije and Jeroen furthermore highlighted several aspects of the platform that helped them get the results they were looking for.

  1. Easy engagement – They were able to “gamify” the respondents’ community experience through a point system, keeping engagement levels up. Engagement and motivation were also easily maintained through email notifications.
  2. Task driven – Using Task Lists, they were able to help respondents understand how to participate without the need for written instructions. This saved them a lot of time.
  3. Mobile friendly – They utilized the mobile version of CMNTY Platform to reach respondents who preferred to not sit behind a laptop. This positively impacted reach and participation rates.
  4. BespokePlatform customization allowed them to tailor their community, both visually and interactively, helping respondents feel at home and confidently complete assignments.
Jeroen Hermans

Agile and Scaleable

From experience they found that engaging smaller communities of 30 or 40 members over a short (but intensive) period works very well. And because CMNTY Platform allows them the scale up easily as needed, it helped make their work agile. Especially in situations where client demands shift during the course of a project this was a welcome solution.


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