Vision Critical Dispels Myths about Virtual Shopping

CHICAGO, IL – July 12, 2011 — Vision Critical, a global research and technology firm and pioneer in the market intelligence field, is dispelling some common myths about virtual shopping research. The findings, unveiled today during the 11th annual IIR Shopper Insights in Action conference in Chicago, challenge commonly held best practices for virtual reality-based research methods and reveal how different virtual shopping technologies and methodological frameworks impact results.

“With first-hand experience working on behalf of more than a third of the top global brands over the past decade, Vision Critical knows how powerful virtual shopping can be in evaluating how brand, packaging, aisle flow, product adjacencies, price and in-store promotions impact consumer shopping behavior and purchase decisions, said Matt Kleinschmit, senior vice president of Consumer Insights at Vision Critical. “And while the validity of virtual reality research has been well documented as a predictor of actual consumer in-store behavior over the past several years, the growing array of different technologies and research methods have left many retailers and consumer products manufacturers wondering which methods are best suited for varying business applications.”

The Vision Critical research revealed that there is little difference between 2D and 3D technology in predicting consumer purchase for varying product shelving arrangements, with both technologies producing similar average spending and number of products purchased (consumers purchased an average of 2.2 products in both technologies with no significant difference in spending). This counters a widely propagated notion that sophisticated 3D technology is more effective than 2D in category management research applications, and suggests that the proper virtual shopping technology employed in actual testing may vary depending on the specific goals of the research and business issues at hand.

“The drive for new product innovation in recent years has led both CPG manufacturers and retailers to seek virtual-reality research solutions to help maximize limited shelf space and optimize aisle flow and product portfolio,” said Kleinschmit. “Given Vision Critical’s role in the development of both 2D and online 3D virtual reality technologies over the past ten years, we conducted this research to provide an unbiased understanding of the unique differences of each so they can be effectively applied for our clients. What the results show are that the virtual technology itself may be less important than a properly balanced research design that employs the right level of virtual technology to address specific business issues facing marketers and category managers alike.”

Other notable findings included:

  • There is no significant difference between online virtual eye tracking and traditional central location-based eye tracking in identifying specific areas on a package that attract the most visual attention, although traditional central location-based eye tracking may be more effective at understand ‘path of gaze’.

  • Virtual tests that contain fewer products than what is actually found in-store can be nearly as effective in determining impact on products purchased and spending behavior.

  • Exposing consumers to a ‘test’ exercise prior to an actual virtual shopping exercise has no impact on average spending and purchase behaviors.

Please visit the Vision Critical booth at Shoppers Insight in Action located at:
Exhibit Location: Vevey Ballroom – 2nd Floor in the Swissotel Chicago

About Shopper Insights in Action
The 11th Annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference is recognized as the industry’s most trusted conference brand for activating research at retail. This year’s theme examines the blurring “shopper” and “consumer” and takes a holistic approach to understanding and influencing along the path to purchase. The 2011 event is already seeing record breaking attendance, with 650+ projected attendees, 100+ speakers and 70+ sessions, it’s the world’s most comprehensive shopper agenda. View the complete program and speaker faculty at: shopperinsightsevent.com

About Vision Critical
Vision Critical pairs the world’s leading market research specialists with the most innovative software developers, marrying the speed and power of on-line technology with the precision of market research. Serving over 600 global brands through offices across North America, Europe and Australia, Vision Critical creates powerful software and research solutions like Sparq™, the world’s leading community panel platform. For more information on Vision Critical, please visit visioncritical.com