Virtual merchandising - building the business case

VR Merchandising with eye-tracking enables brands and retailers to reach more holistic placement and assortment conclusions. These decisions account for the whole of consumer buying behavior and total brand sales versus single product sales. The solution also allows companies to extend reach to more geographically dispersed participants, performing research faster, more affordably and at larger scale

Where is that just-right place on the retailer’s shelf for my company’s product? And what product assortment should I offer? Consumer brands and retailers invest considerable time and money seeking the answer and working together to agree on the optimal placement.

Traditional approaches to this kind of market research have limitations. For example, you could build an expensive physical store environment and invite focus groups to “shop” the shelves and then fill out a survey; or, you could create a “virtual” store on a computer screen to replicate the shopping experience, or mail products for consumers to try at home and then ask them questions in an online survey.

We see a better way through VR and eye-tracking. Recently, as Kellogg’s prepared to launch a new product, Pop Tarts Bites, the company sought market data to determine placement, assortment and promotion in store. Traditional tests—online surveys and in-home user tests—showed that consumers expected to find new products higher up on a shelf.

With Kellogg’s and Qualcomm, we developed a VR solution with embedded eye-tracking that produced a slightly different answer, and the results offer a glimpse at a new reality for brands, retailers and consumer testing.

The optimization of product placement and assortment in-store and on-shelf helps maximize sales and reduce costs. Using mobile VR with embedded eye-tracking, Accenture teamed with Qualcomm and Kellogg’s to reinvent how brands and retailers gather consumer data and perform research—more rapidly and affordably at larger scale.

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