E-Consumer Lab

The Internet is changing the psychological and social behaviors of human beings. How people work and play, learn and think, and relate and socialize in the digital world is very different today.  The e-Consumer Lab is focused on making sense of the new e-Consumer and derive strategic insights that can change the
way we cater to them.

What do we do at the e-Consumer Lab?

Studies on Consumer decision making heuristics and processes have lead to the design of decision aids and tools on websites as well as interactive assets offered in a retail setting.

Another fascinating area of work revolves around how consumers learn in e-media.  What the cognitive resources devoted to learning and how?  How can we reduce the cognitive load? What can make learning fun?

Information Processing Segments

Consumers differ in their style of information processing as well as their goals. For example, a consumer lending website had four types of consumers visiting the site. One group wanted to learn all about the bank’s products. The second group wanted a fast and easy loan application process. The third group liked to play with the financial calculators. Finally, the fourth group acted as novices who did not know how to search and navigate the site efficiently. The four groups overlapped on demographics and sociographics, but strongly differed on their information processing style and objectives.

The site was efficiently designed only for those who wanted an easy loan process. Once the different information processing segments were identified in the Weblab, the site was redesigned to cater to all groups increasing the conversion rate on the site.


  • Who is the consumer (demographics and background)?
  • What is he/she trying to achieve?
  • What drives the consumer’s behavior?

information-search-and- Processing-requirements

  • Who is the consumer (demographics and background)?
  • What is he/she trying to achieve?
  • What drives the consumer’s behavior?


  • Who is the consumer (demographics and background)?
  • What is he/she trying to achieve?
  • What drives the consumer’s behavior?

Search Strategies

Whether a consumer is looking to purchase a product, subscribe to a service, or just get some information, the process generally begins with some form of search online. While some people may have a specific website in mind, most consumers use multiple resources to find their information, from using search sites like Google to affiliate links like Amazon. Therefore, building a brand presence online can be very difficult, and targeting all sources of traffic would be very inefficient. Using WebLab, we explore the search strategies of consumers to create a focused approach to building brand presence in the areas that matter the most.

1. Task

Depending on the task, consumers adopt different search strategies. We simulate task scenarios that will create the right consumer mindsets to study their search behaviors.

Search Details


General Instructions

Each respondent is given a scenario that will guide their search.


Common Criteria

All respondents are given basic search criteria.


Customized Criteria

Each scenario is customized by changing various criteria.

2. Search

In order to understand the search behaviors and strategies of consumer we collect data, both self-reported and observed, to understand how and why they search the way they do.

Self-Reported Search Strategies

Self-reported behavior gives insights into the search strategies of each respondent. Predetermined search strategies are listed for respondents to select.

Observed Search Patterns

Observed behavior through screen recordings gives specific information about the various types of sites visited and the path to visiting them. The observed behavior is recorded via software.

3. Search to Site

Once we understand the customer’s approach to search we explore the reasons why customers choose to
visit certain sites.

Among the areas we observe, some common areas include:

Commonly Selected Sites

Common sites that are chosen or visited as a result of searching.

Site Ranking

The impact of ranking within search results.

Time Alloted

Measuring the amount of time spent searching, and the consequent impact on the sites found.


Our recommendations are built around the findings from the research. Action plans are formed around key areas to effectively build the brand’s online presence.

Keyword Choice

Build keyword strategies to focus on the terms that are used most frequently.

Meta tag Formation

Develop meta summaries that provide useful information to searchers.

Advertising Optimization

Optimize designs and slogans to appeal to the target consumer.

Consumer Journeys

Consumer journeys help companies better understand the context in which their consumers use their products and services. This process not only creates a better understanding of the consumer, but it also helps discover potential pockets of opportunity to improve the product/service. We develop consumer journeys based on the different customer personas that we discover in the lab. The consumer journey is generally composed of 4 parts: customer onboarding, company interaction, external resources and the desired experience.

Customer Onboarding

The onboarding process of a customer is explored and detailed in a step-by-step process to understand the customer’s first experience with the company.

Company Interaction

Typical user interactions with the product/service are mapped out in a step-by-step framework to understand usage scenarios and find potential pain points.

External Resources

We explore other products and services that consumer use which are similar to the researched product/service to understand why they use them.

Desired Experience

Based on feedback from the consumer journey, opportunities are explored to provide a better customer experience.

Motivations and Needs

In order to understand the deeper meanings behind customer behavior we break them down into their motivations and needs. For example, a health insurance company wanted to understand the different types of members they had and the various ways they interacted with an online insurance portal. After completing a persona development exercise, we had a better understanding of the different member motivations and needs. In one of the instances, we found that those who managed the household generally had two leading motivations: they wanted to manage their time appropriately and keep their families organized. This finding showed us that this type of member had two needs, managing their family’s insurance plan (understanding coverage and benefits), and, more importantly, managing the healthcare of their family (scheduling doctor visits, researching health conditions, scheduling immunizations, etc.). Therefore, an exploration in the motivations and needs not only helps understand the consumer on a deeper level, but it also helps develop new and innovative solutions to meet their needs.

Information Processing Segments