Understanding the touchpoints of the customer journey: How pre-work and conversations can help

Consumers don’t decide to buy your product on a whim if they’ve never been exposed to it before. Often, there have been multiple touchpoints along the consumer journey, leading them to ultimately make the purchase.

It’s important for brands to engage the consumer at these touchpoints. However, determining when, where, and how to engage at those touchpoints are can be challenging without understanding real consumer behaviour.

Having conversations with consumers allows you to both broadly explore and delve deeper into the consumer journey. Sometimes you’ll want to have a completely free-flowing conversation with a consumer. Other times, you’ll want a little more background… In instances when you want to start your conversation from an informed perspective, asking research participants to do pre-work can be a good option.

You can’t be with the consumer at every step of the consumer journey. That’s why it’s critical to capture their behaviours and perspectives as often throughout the journey as possible. When you ask consumers to do pre-work, you increase your visibility into parts of the journey that you may not have been able to capture otherwise.

Here are some of the most common types of pre-work that we see used to understand the consumer journey:

In-the-moment image & video capture

One of the most common requests that we receive is for stimuli to be shared on our virtual whiteboard during live video conversations.

In advance of the session, participants may gather images and/or video to discuss.

Photos or videos that are taken in-the-moment (or immediately after an event, like shopping) are especially helpful when exploring the consumer journey. Touchpoints are often small interactions and can be challenging to remember correctly after-the-fact. Memories are jogged when these moments (captured by photo or video) are later brought up in conversation. 


Similar to image and video capture, we can also ask participants to keep a diary. In asking the participants to keep a diary in the days or weeks leading up to their session, they can get a clearer idea of usage and/or feelings around a product.

The consumer journey is not a short process. It can be easy to forget details about touchpoints along the way. A diary can be a good way to aid recall of what actually happened.


Photos can also be centered around a topic area or trend. For example, a client recently requested that participants compile a collage of things that seemed “cool” to them. During the session, participants went into further depth of why they selected each image. This informed decisions about how to enhance touchpoints to be more in line with what participants found “cool.”

Discuss.io coordinates all of this work and makes sure that the images and video are available during the live session.

At-home product testing

The consumer journey doesn’t end once the purchase has been made. Consumers also have to enjoy products in order to buy them again or tell their friends and families about it.

We’ve had many customers ask us if we can ship physical products to participants’ homes. The short answer is yes, to consumers all around the world.

Participants test the product on camera during the live session, giving you an opportunity to see witness real behaviours and probe in real-time. To learn more about pre-work or to kick off a project of your own, start a conversation with us.

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