Conveying a clear, thoughtful message to shoppers is becoming more important than ever for today’s brands and retailers. Because shoppers have so many options when it comes to buying—online, subscription services, big box stores, convenience channels—they can simply head elsewhere to find what they need if expectations aren’t met.
When it comes to physical stores, providing the right signage or promotional displays sets the tone for a customers’ shopping experience. We know that in-store messaging is important for two reasons: it allows those on a specific shopping mission to quickly find what they are looking for, and it allows shoppers who are browsing to notice products they might not have previously been aware of. The issue is that many shopper marketing teams are relying on outdated methods when it comes to creating merchandising content.
Two common approaches to developing new signage or displays involve either using historical data and survey results, or fielding mock store tests.
Leveraging historical data or relying on surveys give us an idea as to how shoppers of today might react based on how past shoppers reacted. There are a few problems with this kind of approach:
- Survey and historical data isn’t all that accurate. People often behave differently in the store than they think they would.
- Historical data is useless for concepts that have never existed before. More often than not you’re creating new concepts, not recycling old ones.
- History is just that—history. It’s not a solid predictor of future behavior.
Testing different versions of a sign or display with sample shoppers in a mock store is a much more accurate way to learn how a concept will perform in the real world—but it comes with some big setbacks:
- It can be very expensive to create each concept, set up the mock store, and bring in shoppers to walk through a shopping exercise.
- It’s extremely time consuming.
If you’re still using one or both of these approaches to mine shopper data, you’re missing out on some big opportunities to innovate your process and gain the deep, actionable insights you need to create winning in-store messaging. Visualizing and evaluating concepts using virtual simulations is more cost effective, faster, and more accurate than other methods out there. Want to learn more? Download our latest report, Sending the Right Message: Evaluating In-Store Signage & Displays with VR.