Babar Khan Javed
Mar 16, 2018

Nielsen makes retail push with VR store simulation

The company showcased a VR-based tool for evaluating point-of-sale effectiveness yesterday in Singapore.

Nielsen demonstrates VR shopping analysis tools yesterday in Singapore.
Nielsen demonstrates VR shopping analysis tools yesterday in Singapore.

Nielsen held a global launch event for a new Smart Store offering, which aims to help retailers and manufacturers understand shopper behaviour and uncover the "moment of truth", yesterday in Singapore.

Regardless of the store format, Nielsen claims the offering will allow marketers to measure, evaluate, and optimise a range of retail strategies that impact sales and margins. The tool is also positioned to help marketers evaluate the effectiveness of point-of-sale merchandise.

The offering will soon be available in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia as well, the company said.

By creating a realistic and immersive in-store simulation, Nielsen intends to engage industry-recognized sample sizes of customer clusters to partake in research that can, for instance, find possible gaps between products consumers aspire toward and products they actually gravitate toward.

Eye-tracking technology inside the virtual reality setup has the potential to detect aspects of product packaging that instantaneously catch a shopper's eye while also being able to note both voluntary and involuntary eye movement.

Sue Temple, an executive director at Nielsen, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the data derived from the eye-tracking technology could help marketers design packaging that communicates the brand- or category-specific reasons to buy (RTB), thereby reducing the time between product consideration and addition to the shopping cart or basket.

"We are excited with today’s launch and hope this would drive greater insights into shopper behaviours at the moment of truth and build a collaborative partnership between retailers and manufacturers in Singapore,” said Temple.

Acknowledging that the controlled virtual environment runs the risk of restricting participants into following through with prompted and specific actions that would not otherwise be taken in a real-life context, Temple added that the involuntary signals such as eye movements, feet placement, and head turns offer researchers a wealth of impulse data. Nielsen added that a virtual environment allows a retailer to eliminate unnecessary risks.

While the concept in itself is not new, Nielsen believes that its access to multiple data sources will help marketers draw smarter conclusions from the range of in-store and test-based data points.

“Nielsen's Singapore team is building an innovation hotspot where our diverse ecosystem of clients and other stakeholders such as startups can collaborate with us and try out the latest capabilities in the wider field of consumer research," said Singapore MD Johan Vrancken.

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