In the world of selling consumer goods, merchandising is the key. Many hours are spent by merchandising experts perfecting product displays and testing them with consumers.

A multinational consumer goods corporation had worked with Accenture in the past to build a virtual reality (VR) experience, where customers could evaluate product placement and store layout, resulting in value for the client through better displays, better product positioning and higher sales. However, the system only allowed users to participate one person at a time. There was no way for people to join the same session and engage with each other or to be observed by or interact with an audience. Shoppers, who were accustomed to experiencing the displays with others in real-time, were unable to do so in the one-user VR system.

What Accenture did

Accenture XR worked with the merchandising team at a multinational consumer goods corporation to create a multiuser VR merchandising evaluation system – utilizing VIVE Pro Headsets – that allows three consumers to interact with the same scene and products in real-time.

To do this, the team created a multiuser experience in a single session over the client’s intranet that allows group tracking in physical space and maps to player locations in a virtual store. In this test environment, consumers could pick up and drop items, make their actions visible to others and move around the virtual store as a group.

Simulating shopping in groups allows the data and insights collected to be more aligned to the real-life consumer experience.

People and culture

The immersive VR experience was very well received. Executives and trainers reported that the interactive training is user friendly and allows for discussions, where it is easy to explain concepts to those workers without previous field experience, compared to their typical classroom setting.

Trainees appreciated the immediate feedback they received as their responses to the simulations were scored. This exploration of VR Training and other applications of XR technology demonstrates the utility company’s continued commitment to safety and innovation in the delivery of energy to their customers.

Value delivered

This new ability for the three consumers to evaluate and assess the product and store layout in the same space, while interacting with the products and each other in real-time, increased the efficiency of the process and made it a more realistic and effective simulation of the real-life scenario.

Additionally, the final product included the ability for an audience to observe, engage and participate in the process. The resulting feedback provides more relevant information to the merchandising experts designing the displays.

The experience of the members of the team from Accenture XR allowed them to speed up the content development for this system, while maintaining legacy systems and providing backward compatibility allowing for plug-and-play with any existing 3D environment. This made it possible to apply the multiuser experience to existing environments, significantly decreasing the costs of developing and implementing the system.

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