In today’s world of CPG and retail, much attention is given to shifting store footprints, and how to reimagine the center store for a more personalized customer experience. But a big part of why those customers buy what they buy has to do with shopper marketing. The need for innovative methods of drawing shoppers in and keeping them engaged has become a necessity for brick and mortar locations, and as technology changes the way we shop, technology is also rapidly changing the role of the shopper marketer.
Because consumer decisions can stem from push notifications, emails, social media, websites, TV or any number of touchpoints, shopper marketing is now very different from simply adding signage or highlighting a promotion. We’ve come a long way when it comes to shopper insights and data mining, and we now have the resources—such as VR technology—that truly allow marketers to understand what drives in-store decisions.
Virtual reality is changing shopper marketing in a couple of important ways.
InContext provides enterprise cloud-based VR solutions for retail with ShopperMX™. This means that instead of working within their own silos, shopper marketing teams can collaborate and iterate on concepts with sales teams, category management teams, and retail partners before implementing anything in the physical store.
For example, a personal care products manufacturer wanted to coordinate focus groups in order to collect qualitative feedback on arrangement and navigational signage for their female shave category. Using ShopperMX™ they were able to save on creative development costs from agencies for concepts used in focus groups, and instead create signage in VR. Additionally, the company’s insights team was able to benefit through cross-functional collaboration with the category development team. Because teams can work together within a virtual environment, they can make notes, instantly see changes, save multiple concepts and collaborate on which ideas should be implemented or further tested.
Saving on the Bottom Line
VR is greatly improving the impact on the bottom line in a time when shopper marketers are working with ultra-tight budgets. How? By reducing risk and executing concepts based on data rather than guesses—saving time and, in some cases, millions of dollars.
In one example, before placing an order for 25,000 displays, a marketing team wanted to learn whether or not the complex display concept—assumed to be the most effective—was the right investment for a new in-store campaign. Leveraging ShopperMX™ Indicators, they were able to test three different display concepts, including the complex display, with shoppers before simply going ahead with the order. Luckily they did, because through virtual testing they found the simple display concept performed the best, contrary to the initial hypothesis—saving them $40 per display. I’ll let you do the math.
VR solutions are quickly becoming a business staple for many CPG manufacturers and retailers. For shopper marketers specifically, the days of guessing and hoping a new signage or display concept will ultimately provide a return on investment are over. Technology is at a point now where the insights and data are available to truly learn what works and what doesn’t—and VR is a way to do that faster, and more affordably than ever before.