Research sciences have always cited field studies and surveys as being important methods in data collection, and in marketing research, one way of getting consumer feedback is by interviewing consumers right in the place where they do their shopping, or mall intercepts, as it is termed. A mall intercept is a type of survey conducted in the premises of a shopping complex, and involves stopping the shoppers and selecting them based on their suitability to the marketing research or survey. If the persons are deemed appropriate for the survey, they are selected as potential participants are invited to answer an interview or survey. The interview is either administered on the spot or they participants are taken to a nearby location, usually located in the same building, to complete the interview. Mall-intercepts are able to provide a fairly varied sampling group, though not necessarily representative of the population. However, consumers found in a shopping mall do make up a major share of the market for many products.
Mall intercepts are widely used by marketing researchers because they are able to reach a large segment of the population in one area. It is said that two-thirds of American households shop at the mall at least once during a two-week period. It is not surprising then that about 25% of marketing research, and 65% of personal interviews, or mall intercepts are conducted at shopping malls.
With the advent of mobile marketing research, mall intercepts are now able to yield results which are more timely and accurate, because the surveys engage people at the point of experience. Surveys can be conducted using smartphones or tablets, and the the data may be uploaded online. The advantage of mobile research in mall intercepts over the traditional clipboard survey is that it is now possible to transmit the data collected in real-time via wireless network and other mobile computing technologies. Mobile research also improves the communication between the researchers, even if they are conducting their surveys in different locations. This also means that even if the surveys are conducted in multiple locations, the survey responses can be uploaded to a centralized location where the marketing researchers can analyze and monitor the data as it comes. Moreover, the researchers can also identify issues and problem areas instantly and have the opportunity to change the interview/survey even remotely. Questions may be changed and tailored to the respondents accordingly hence making the research project more effective.