Offline Data Collection

We periodically conduct simultaneous online and offline (in-store) data collection efforts in retailers around the world. This allow us to:

  1.  Validate online data as a representative source of high-frequency price information (since most of the transactions take place offline for now, even in developed countries)
  2. Better understand how offline pricing behaviors are being affected by the web and mobile browsing/price‐checking technologies.

To make offline data collection as simple and affordable as possible, we combine the use of a custom‐made barcode scanning app for Android phones with the growing popularity of crowdsourcing web services such as Amazon Mechanical Turk and Elance.

We are currently collecting offline prices from the top retailers (by market share) in 10 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States. We will be adding new countries and retailers in the near future.

You can collaborate with our effort, helping us expand our offline-online prices database, or simply use our app to run your own offline-data collection process, free of charge. Our only request is that you allow us to use the data you collect for our online-offline validation research.

The steps to use our app and offline infrastructure are simple:

  • Download the free BPP app for android phones
  • Contact us to receive a custom “Project Code”. This code is needed to use the app for the first time in a new phone. The code is appended to every data sent by your phone, and it allows us to separate your data from the rest
  • Periodically:
    • You (your team) scan and email us the files. It is all done with our simple app.
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    • We consolidate, clean, and process the data (check for the online price if needed)
    • We share all the raw data (prices, text, photos) and findings for your subset of data with you through a shared dropbox folder.

Please contact Maria Fazzolari for more information: mariabf@mit.edu.

 

Offline-Data Collection Collaboration Initiatives
We are collaborating with offline-data collection projects in different countries. ONGOING PROJECTS in: Belgium, Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, Chile.