Observation means that the situation of interest is checked and a person or some mechanical device records the relevant facts, actions, or behaviors. Accurate data about what consumers do in certain situations is provided by observation. Observation does not tell why it happened.
Mechanical approaches are reliable data collection instruments because they provide objective measures. Data on the factors influencing product sales, such as competitor advertising and other promotional activities can be effectively assessed. Information can be obtained on a specific store or all the stores in a system, enabling rapid and effective comparisons at various local, regional and national levels. The information is available continuously and enables firms to plan down to the individual store level.