Nielsen Advances Shopper Research With Extreme Reality And Gaming Technology

NEW YORK, June 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN) Global Connect introduced its virtual suite of Smart solutions to the U.S. market.  This virtual suite includes three distinct solutions—Nielsen SmartStore, the first, immersive virtual reality tool designed to transform in-store testing; Nielsen SmartShelf, the next generation of virtual retail shelf and planogram testing; and Nielsen SmartShopper, an interactive, augmented reality-fueled shopper marketing tool that helps to uncover in-store shopping behaviors. With this release, Nielsen is bringing the latest in extreme reality and gaming technology to the forefront of shopper research.

SmartStore is the only such solution in the U.S., enabling consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers to create and test customized, in-store shopping simulations and scenarios within a dynamic, 3D, 360-degree total store environment.

SmartStore’s immersive simulations of unprecedented, realistic quality is paving a new path for the CPG industry to measure, evaluate and optimize a range of retail concepts, including multiple shelf layouts and locations, point of sale (POS) designs, promotion displays, packaging options and even whole store designs. Tracking beyond just eye movements, SmartStore provides a read on shopper head, eye and foot movements, in addition to providing a 3D heat map of the store, shelf or aisle. With a precise, 360-degree controller and headset tracking, realistic graphics, directional audio and HD haptic feedback, SmartStore simulates realistic first-person movement and actions—all in a hyper-realistic, virtual world.

The unique “playback” function allows users of this tool to review the in-store shopper journey and tag possible problem moments for review, converting observations into actionable insights. Within the playback function, researchers can also choose to ask test shoppers qualifying questions as to why they chose or reacted in a certain manner at the shelf, giving retailers and manufacturers new, richer insights into elements such as merchandising, pack ingredients or marketing and promotional activities.

In a time of great retail and shopper disruption, virtual planning is a tech-forward way for companies to navigate the new normal of in-store planning. Through a collaborative alliance with InContext Solutions, an established player in 3D simulation software, Nielsen SmartShelf in the U.S. will produce a fully realistic shopper experience in a dynamic, virtual, online environment. SmartShelf allows companies to continue to safely and quickly design and test aisle, category and shelf scenarios, without physical store testing. Using passive data and active survey insights, companies are able to gain a better understanding of the how, what and why behind at-shelf shopping behavior, to strategically plan and effectively create the most optimal shelf design for today’s shopper needs.

Powered by InContext’s industry-leading 3D virtual simulation software for retail environments and Nielsen’s CPG data, insights and analytics, SmartShelf has the ability to test numerous, iterative scenarios and size the value of the shopper impact on brand and category.

For today’s marketers, the latest edition of SmartShopper, which will be available in July, will enable companies to identify and uncover in-store shopper behaviors. Fueled by the latest in augmented reality, this smartphone enabled, shopper marketing tool allows for product images, in-store marketing artwork, seasonal or special event concepts to be tested by shoppers in-store using interactive gaming technology. 

“With the pace of unprecedented change occurring within today’s shopping landscape, it is imperative for companies to stay ahead of consumers and anticipate their needs,” said Susan Dunn, President, U.S. Sales, Nielsen. “Nielsen’s virtual suite of SmartStore solutions capitalizes on new technology to dramatically increase the speed and reduce the costs of testing new concepts for brands, allowing them to get real, personal consumer feedback at scale, in a safe environment. Understanding shoppers is more important than ever, and this latest launch represents the next step in our commitment to shaping a smarter market for our clients.”

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