If you’re familiar with the ABC program Shark Tank, you may also know its’ spinoff series Beyond the Tank, which follows the newly minted entrepreneurs in their quest to market and sell their product, with feedback and advice from one of the “Sharks.”
On a recent episode of Beyond the Tank, Lori Greiner demonstrated the value of packaging to an entrepreneurial duo by showing them how their current packaging looked next to other products at a Home Depot, and then comparing it to the new version of the package. Not a perfect test by any means, but by experiencing how the new package design would look on the shelf, Greiner proved visualizing in-store is key to making valuable business decisions.
It’s a great example of why virtual reality is a natural tool when it comes to creating compelling new packaging. With a successful new package design, manufacturers can attract new buyers and increase sales. But they can also lose just as much, if not more, if the new design fails to resonate with customers. Ideating and testing with virtual simulations means less risk and more opportunities to see how a product will perform before actually implanting it in real life.
In another example, a frozen food manufacturer determined they could save around $40 million annually by modifying packaging of a popular brand, but they weren’t sure which of two designs to use. Working with InContext, they decided to test two new designs to see which would maintain the greatest share of the category, as well as understand the impact of the new packaging on choice at shelf among competitive products. By visualizing the designs in virtual, and then testing them with online shoppers, the manufacturer was able to determine which design would make the most sense to launch, all without the risk of losing share or alienating shoppers.
As the shopper experience becomes more and more important to the survival and success of brick and mortar stores, the ability to assess the true impact of packaging on customers is taking on a new kind of importance. Virtual reality simulations make that process more efficient and cost effective, providing a unique way of improving the in-store experience.