THE WHY BEHIND THE BUY
Getting approached by an interviewer randomly in public to answer questionnaires or surveys might soon be a thing of the past.
Global measurement and data analytics firm Nielsen has come up with virtual reality tool, called the ‘SmartStore’ that allows consumers to enter a realistic 360 degree simulation of store environments, where their behaviours will observed studied, and data analysed.
“Knowing why consumers are buying what they’re buying is the best way for retailers and manufacturers know how to market a product and find a way that is going to make it sell,” says Dolly Jitani, a leader in Nielsen’s Shopper Product Development.
Nielsen designed this technology using gamification and virtual technology to create a fully immersive shopper experience, in hopes, it will give marketers the crucial insights on purchasing behaviour.
Knowing why consumers are buying what they’re buying is the best way for retailers and manufacturers know how to market a product and find a way that is going to make it sell.
“This tool will allow companies to perform store planning, merchandising and marketing before implementing physical changes in store.
“We can measure, evaluate and optimise a range of retail concepts on sales and shopper metrics, based on how target shopper react at the moment of truth - in any store format, aisle, category or shelf.
“It also helps advertisers to measure the effectiveness of point-of-sale merchandise based on what shoppers see, think and do, while media agencies can test what marketing messages resonate in different environments,” says Jitani.
While this technology might not be ideal for people who are easily nauseated, Jitani jokes, the technology simulates a real life shopping environment, giving users an experience as close to a trip down the neighbourhood grocer.
SmartStore allows consumers to pick up products and read the labels, and if you happen to drop the product, it will fall to the ground.
“We continue to work on it, to make it better. We can touch, we can pick it up, we can hear. Now we are trying to add ‘taste’ and ‘smell’ too.”
“But we are still in the early stages for that,” says Jitani.
While there are a variety of techniques and methodologies to help retailers understand consumer behaviour, Jitani says the fast-changing market dynamics poses a big challenge for marketers to respond promptly to consumer trends. She hopes the SmartStore can step in to help fill the gap.
“There are challenges while doing shopper research. When we conduct our research, we usually need to get store permission, and that can be difficult. Even when you get, there are disruptions.
“Businesses also wants their tests to be confidential, so with this technology, the future research is done in a secure environment.”
We are optimistic about Malaysia. With all the changes that is happening here, you can see the consumer behaviour is also changing.
“We wanted a technology that would be a blend of both quantitative, what consumers are doing, and qualitative - why are they doing it. This is why we came up with SmartStore, a solution to overcome these challenges,” says Jitani.
Since its launch in 2018, Malaysia is the third market in South East Asia to offer the retailers and manufacturers the Nielsen SmartStore technology.
“We are optimistic about Malaysia. With all the changes that is happening here, you can see the consumer behaviour is also changing.
“So there is a huge potential for the retail and manufacturing industry,” says Dolly.
Introduced a year ago, Nielsen’s SmartStore is also available in Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Turkey, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom, Poland, German, Australia and Hong Kong.
“We have three more launches coming up; in Italy, Romania and Russia within the next three weeks,” says Jitani.