Glass door of a shop with a blue and white 'open' sign hanging.
Get start­ed with Shop Builder: 3 easy experiments

Shop Builder is one of Gorilla’s add-ons, designed to pro­vide you the pow­er­ful and easy-to-use tools you need to con­duct excel­lent research into shop­ping and con­sumer behav­iour. It’s a sophis­ti­cat­ed tool built for rig­or­ous research.

To your par­tic­i­pants Gorilla Shop Builder looks like a nor­mal online shop, but behind the scenes you wield a pow­er­ful research tool.

Here’s what Shop Builder looks like to your participants…

A toy shop built in Shop Builder

And here’s the back end research tools for you…

Image showing the back end spreadsheet structure


Built as part of the Gorilla ecosys­tem, par­tic­i­pants can be given Shop Builder tasks along­side ele­ments from our Task and Ques­tion­naire Builders. This means you can add a per­son­al­i­ty ques­tion­naire or a prim­ing task before or after the shop­ping task, allow­ing you to answer com­plex research questions.

Here we describe 3 easy exper­i­ments using the Shop Builder, to help you started.


1. Can you suc­cess­ful­ly prime purchases?

4 bottles of fizzy drink in a row of varying colours.

Prim­ing is an inter­est­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal con­cept — the idea that being exposed to a stim­u­lus will influ­ence later respons­es. Prim­ing is being increas­ing­ly inves­ti­gat­ed in rela­tion to con­sumer behav­iour with researchers inter­est­ed in whether prim­ing a con­sumer will influ­ence their pur­chas­ing behav­iours. The Shop Builder can be teamed up with the Task Builder to pro­duce a great exper­i­ment to assess this!

Imag­ine show­ing par­tic­i­pants an advert designed to prime a cer­tain brand of fizzy drink, then ask­ing them to com­plete a dis­trac­tor task such as a stroop test. Par­tic­i­pants could then be shown a shop­ping list fea­tur­ing the gen­er­al term ‘fizzy drink’ before being told to pur­chase items from their list in a shop­ping task. Com­par­ing the items in their shop­ping bas­kets with the primed prod­ucts would allow for an assess­ment of var­i­ous prim­ing techniques!


2. Deal or no deal?

Red label with white text - up to 50% off

Imag­ine that you have been shop­ping for a new tele­vi­sion; you’ve nar­rowed your choic­es down and are con­sid­er­ing the price of your favourite. How do you know that you’ve got a good price? We often think about value in rel­a­tive terms using a start­ing point as an ‘anchor’. Some­times the anchor is some­thing we decide like our bud­get, often though it’s the sell­er telling us how much an item is worth.

You may be shocked when a tele­vi­sion is priced at £1000, but if it was £5000 reduced to £1000 then that’s a bar­gain! With­in Shop Builder you can add dis­counts to prod­ucts, allow­ing you to see how par­tic­i­pants assess the qual­i­ty or attrac­tive­ness of a prod­uct depend­ing on the start­ing price point. This could be a great exper­i­ment to see whether par­tic­i­pants value a prod­uct more if it’s dis­count­ed from a high­er price rather than sim­ply start­ing at the cheap­er price.


3. How can we make the most of a shop­ping list?

A white piece of paper is resting against a brown paper bag. There is a hand holding a pen above the paper.

Think about when you’re walk­ing down the aisles of a super­mar­ket. How do you remem­ber the items you need to buy? Do you think about gener­ic items, or in terms of spe­cif­ic brands? This is a great lit­tle exper­i­ment to inves­ti­gate mem­o­ry in applied real-life settings.

Par­tic­i­pants could be given one of two shop­ping lists — either a gener­ic list (such as orange juice, ketchup, and tis­sues), or a brand­ed list (Sunny D, Heinz ketchup, and Kleenex). They would then be taken to an online gro­cery shop in the Shop Builder and told to pur­chase as many things from the list as they remember.


Your next project

So there we go. 3 sim­ple ideas to help you get start­ed with Shop Builder! Hope­ful­ly that’s given you some idea of what’s pos­si­ble, and got your cre­ative juices flowing.

As you’d expect, there are a whole host of manip­u­la­tions that are easy to use to test your hypothe­ses. You can upload your own prod­uct set, change brand­ing, apply taxes and sub­si­dies. Change labels and apply nudges. And many more features.

Dis­cov­er more about Shop Builder here, and explore fea­tures in more detail here.


Ash­leigh Johnstone

Ash­leigh is a recent PhD grad­u­ate now work­ing for Gorilla Exper­i­ment Builder who are rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing online behav­iour­al sci­ence in acad­e­mia and beyond. After writ­ing and sub­mit­ting her the­sis dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, she is on a per­son­al mis­sion to ensure no stu­dent gets left behind this year. 

Jo Ever­shed

Jo is the CEO and co-founder of Caul­dron and Gorilla. Her mis­sion is to pro­vide behav­iour­al sci­en­tists with the tools need­ed to improve the scale and impact of the evi­dence-based inter­ven­tions that ben­e­fit society.