Reviving the Intercept Interview

Published On: September 7, 2018By

The market research industry is full of validated sample, panels and recruiting resources. However, screeners can be arduous, recruiting lengthy and participant authentication tricky.  In these cases, we at KNow find fresh, authentic participants by putting our boots on the ground and finding them ourselves.  Over the past couple of years this has grown into a methodology of its own; Qualitative Intercept Interviews (QIIs).

Our goal was not to mimic mall intercepts, but to provide another option, a qualitative conversation, had in situ. These interviews last anywhere from 5-20 minutes depending on the client’s goals (and the amount of the gift card incentive!). They take place anywhere we can get permission to be: clients’ stores, pop-up store fronts, malls, farmer’s markets, festivals, etc.  They cover a range of topics and usually include some close-ended and some open-ended questions, all discussed with participants by a qualitative moderator.

Our retail industry clients especially appreciate the approach because we can approach shoppers when they are actually shopping/browsing. They are in the moment authentically and the resulting interviews are more aligned with their actual rather than remembered behavior.

Participants enjoy the chance to participate in a research study immediately, not having to book an appointment or go to another location or be taken through endless screening questions. They are often surprised it is so easy and proud that they have given their feedback to a brand, product or idea that plays a role in their lives.

A few things to note about QIIs:

  1. Quotas are tricky; this is not the time to find a needle in a haystack.  Be open broad participant criteria and minimal quotas.
  2. Your total # of completes is going to be an estimate; there’s a lot you don’t have control over.  We’ve encountered road construction, mall fires, snowstorms and more along the way.  Be sure that you have a goal of completes for the day but know that you have elemental factors at work as well.
  3.  Permission is king; you absolutely positively have to have written permission in advance to conduct interviews.  Be sure to go through the proper channels ahead of time, get your permits, work with the store/mall managers, etc.

What other uses/benefits/watch-outs have you found with intercept interviews? Email us at to continue the conversation.