South Africa has become the first country on the African continent to launch Nielsen’s new SmartStore virtual shopper technology - a creative and unique solution for retailers and manufacturers to help them get closer to shopper behaviour at the moment of truth.
The strength of the technology is that it allows retailers and manufacturers to tap into shopper insights and behaviours, test out multiple new shelf layouts, point of sale designs or different promotion displays, trial a new location in-store for new product development or assess the shopper appeal of packaging options, all at the touch of a button in a variety of store formats, aisles or shelf layouts.
Nielsen South Africa Consumer Insights Director Kim Reddy
comments; “The beauty of this technology is that it allows us to custom build virtual reality scenarios, according to client specifications and their research needs. We can then observe consumers as they shop in the ‘store’ and ask questions without any delay. We’re also able to create scenarios for modern, convenience and traditional trade store formats which make this solution highly relevant for the South African market.”
SmartStore builds a live environment, creating multiple scenarios helping in comprehensive analytics of shoppers experience (track shopper head, eye and feet movements, 3D heat maps, etc). This also drives affordable research costs for retailers through the “Attention, Appeal, Action” framework thus building confidence in commercial results and measurable ROI on research investment.
This is significant given that to date, understanding shopper behaviour and how it is influenced by different in-store activations, has been confined to traditional research methods - exit interviews, in home interviews, in-the-moment mobile surveys - all portraying only current shopper behaviour and not future state.
More recent 2D virtual store simulations also lack real-life interactions for many respondents but by leveraging breakthroughs in Virtual Reality (VR) gaming technology Nielsen has been able to create a realistic 3D immersive store simulation, which will radically transform shopper research into a more dynamic, interactive and cost-effective solution.
Nielsen Shopper Executive Director Sue Temple
adds; “This solution has been put together using the latest virtual reality technology available and adapting it to create a unique, fully immersive shopper research and merchandising solution. The introduction of SmartStore is a testimony to our innovation capabilities, a cutting edge solution, enabling our clients to project results close to reality and plan for what’s next in order to win in the marketplace.”