Editor’s note: Devora Rogers is chief strategy officer for market research consultancy Alter Agents, Los Angeles.At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw this joke on LinkedIn: 

Who is leading your digital transformation strategy at your company?

A. The CEO 

B. The CTO 

C. COVID-19

I loved the joke because I think of how many digital transformation sessions I’ve facilitated and none ever created the impact that a global pandemic has in just a few months.

We’re changing now because we have to change. It’s not what we imagined in our glossy futurist trends decks. But here we are.

The same is true of market research in a time of COVID. While more qualitative tools are available than ever before, the majority of us are stuck at home trying to figure out consumer shop-along research in a quarantine environment.What strategies can researchers employ to best support in-store and shopper projects, providing alternatives to more traditional methods? The first thing to realize when looking at this problem is that we’re not in control. Unfortunately, the virus is running things. 

This means that there is no point in trying to replicate the work we would have done in our previous reality. Things are going to change for good, whether we like it or not. After we accept this, we can start to look at safe options for teams and respondents that can guide us into the future. 

Here are a few techniques that I recommend for those seeking shopper research methods:

Qualitative and shopper research methodologies have been completely turned upside down by the pandemic. In this sense, COVID-19 is forcing us to rethink and accelerate digital transformation. There are powerful options for market researchers to continue reaching important audiences – audiences who are more digitally connected than ever before.