Why In-Store Planning is Similar to… Flying a Plane?

Category management might seem a world away from a piloting an airplane, but there’s one aspect of the job that both professions benefit from–testing and training.

When it comes to flying a plane, the FAA requires pilots to have extensive experience at the controls before ever being in charge of a transporting passengers inside a 400-ton piece of machinery above the clouds. Clearly, in order for air travel to be safe, we need pilots who are educated, highly trained and experienced. But how do they get experience without risking people’s lives in the process?

You’ve probably heard of flight simulations at some point. Basically, there are different levels of simulated flight training, with the most comprehensive and immersive level being the full flight simulator–a machine that mimics the sounds, visuals, motion and in-flight scenarios of a real flight, often employing some version of virtual reality.

Flight simulation : Retail simulation

Virtual simulations, whether for flying or for redesigning an aisle layout, create risk-free opportunities that allow us to understand outcomes before they happen in real life, so we can execute successfully when real life happens.

Obviously, flying a plane involves the lives of crew and passengers – not something brands or retailers have to worry about, but the concept of simulations is the same. As Flying magazine put it, the purpose of simulators are ” to effectively, efficiently and safely train pilots for the real world before they take command of airplanes.”

Retail simulations have a similar purpose: to create a more efficient, accurate and risk-free go-to-market process.

When you compare some of the benefits of flight simulation, they mirror much of the same benefits a category manager, shopper marketer or a market researcher would experience by leveraging virtual simulations for retail planning.

The bottom line? 3D simulations offer real people a chance to experience real-world scenarios in a hyper-realistic environment – without the worry of failure and with the foresight to change course and correct and with ShopperMX, many of your seemingly risky innovations that have most execs shy away at sign-off, can be modeled, and tested with the highest accuracy to cost ratio seen in the industry – and yes, we’ve validated it.

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