This week, I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in the M&S Focus Group Panel for its Boxed Christmas Cards range to be launched in the Christmas season in 2013. This was my first time ever being on a focus group. I'm a big fan of M&S everyday cards (birthday, weddings, engagement, etc.), I'm also a very loyal customer for the past 2 years; so when this invitation came up I simply couldn't refuse - I had a lot to say about their lovely cards.
The focus group took place in the M&S White City Mock Store which is very close to the Westfield Shopping Centre - so a plus point (or an excuse rather) for me to do some shopping afterwards!
So there I was receiving my 'identity' as part of the focus group panel. There were 11 of us, all ladies and within a similar age group. Greeted us in the room was the buying and design team, and lots of cakes and drinks from M&S which I love! I had a lovely victoria sponge sandwich which was heavenly. We went round the table and shared our experiences of buying cards and boxed christmas cards in the past. Surprisingly, most of us don't purchase boxed christmas cards from M&S but looked elsewhere such as Boots, Clintons, Paperchase and for me Primark! However many of us are loyal customers to M&S everyday cards - very interesting!
After a roundtable discussion, we were brought into one of the 'mock shop floor' area which was full of mock-up xmas cards. As we walked through the mock shop floor, I felt like Christmas came early, I could see xmas trees and decorations. I didn't know they were working on it so much more in advance but I guess it makes sense.
There were so many mock up xmas cards, even though they were mock-up versions, they were nicely designed and made. We were each given a small pile of red, yellow and green cards then walked around the room. We would then put a yellow card next to one Christmas card which we think it's a 'MUST HAVE', then red ones on those which we didn't like, and green cards on those which we thought was nice. Afterwards we would have a discussion about why we rated different cards accordingly to the red, yellow and green system.
Some of the cards I saw was soooooo special and well designed, I really cannot wait to get my hands on those and buy a few later on this year. My close friends will love receiving them I'm sure. M&S cards never disappointed me.
The focus group lasted for 2 hours but time flied when you had fun! We were each given a goodie bag, look how excited I was as I left.
When I was home, I had everything in the goodie bag laid out on my table - it's such a generous gesture that M&S shown to us on the focus group panel - there's a range of really nice cards, some wrapping papers, a piece of cake I took away, and what's more exciting is that I was given some vouchers, too!!!! I'm so going to spend it on skincare products which I'll keep you guys updated about what I will have bought.
M&S runs a loyalty card on purchasing any M&S cards, you get a stamp each time when you buy a card; once you accumulated 6 stamps, you get to choose any card of any value for free. In this goodie bag, they gave me a loyalty card which has already got 6 stamps, and an extra loyalty card which has got one stamp on already - woot woot! It will be a while until I NEED to actually BUY a card!
I love a 'green bag' and I was also given this, too!
I had such a fantastic and fun day at the focus group, I wish I would be invited again for another topic next time! Thank you so much M&S!
Have you been to any focus group before? What was it like for you? Do you buy cards from M&S? If not, do check them out next time when you visit your local M&S!