There’s a heck of a lot that goes into the thought process of managing a category, or planning a product roll-out, or designing new marketing messaging for a brand. At least, there should be. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for these types of in-store decisions to be made based on guesses, or by simply assuming that a change to the shelf will lead to an increase in sales (hint, it usually doesn’t.)
Yet, executing a new data-driven, shopper-focused in-store concept doesn’t have to mean an expensive, time-consuming and intensive process. In fact, leveraging emerging technology, such as InContext’s virtual reality solutions, has been helping retail teams mine better data faster than ever before.
The following are 4 ways forward-thinking brands and retailers working smarter by driving their in-store planning strategies with virtual reality solutions.
Identify Leading Concepts
You may have multiple ideas for how to execute a new product assortment, but you don’t have the time or resources to figure out how to narrow down a few to test. Instead of guessing, visualize each of the scenarios in a virtual retail simulation. This allows for products to be seen in the context of a store, to scale. Ideas that maybe sounded good on paper or in a 2D model might not translate well in the actual space. Visualizing concepts in a realistic virtual environment allows you to better understand which concepts make sense to be further evaluated.
Learn Which Elements are Driving Change
Learning how shoppers behave and feel about your new ideas is key to creating a winning concept. Conducting an in-depth, customized research study is a great way to get those metrics. Doing a study like this using VR—instead of a long, complicated and cost-prohibitive traditional study—is even smarter. That’s because real shoppers can shop a virtual store just as they would in a physical store study, but they can also give us detailed, timely feedback on why they made the decisions they made at the shelf. Creating 2 or more concepts in VR and then testing them with shoppers against a benchmark offers a clear and concise way to identify what ideas are driving positive change.
Once you’ve narrowed down winning concepts, you may still want to demonstrate how those concepts would fair at a particular retailer. This is one instance where ShopperMX™ Indicators are a huge asset. Within a few weeks, concepts can be tested within specific virtual store with shoppers that represent the manufacturers’ targeted customers. It’s a way to truly localize and personalize results for retail partners.
Present & Gain Buy-in
Now that you have an in-store concept you are confident will be a hit, you still need to convince your retail partners that it’s worth investing in. There’s no better way to demonstrate the effectiveness of the concept than with VR. By leveraging virtual images, videos and immersive virtual store walk-throughs, your vision is brought to life, with the data and insights to back it up.
Virtual can be used for these methods separately, or all together as holistic and streamlined process from conceptualization to execution. For the latter, check out our latest case study to see how one retailer and brand worked together to create an enterprise-wide VR insights workflow.