Kellogg Company (Kellogg’s) is the world’s leading cereal company; second largest producer of cookies, crackers and savory snacks; and a leading North American frozen foods company.

Consumer brands like Kellogg’s and retailers invest considerable time and money trying to determine the ideal product placement and assortment on the shelf. But traditional approaches to this kind of market research have limitations. For example, you could build an expensive physical store environment and invite focus groups to “shop” the shelves and then fill out a survey; or, you could create a “virtual” store on a computer screen to replicate the shopping experience; or mail products for consumers to try at home and then ask them questions in an online survey.

VR Merchandising Solution with Eye Tracking

All of these conventional approaches pose drawbacks, however, and Accenture wanted to find a better way. So, they teamed with Qualcomm as the technology partner and approached Kellogg’s and proposed a pilot Virtual Reality (VR) and eye tracking-based solution that transforms how brands and retailers conduct market research.

What Accenture did

As Kellogg’s prepared to launch a new product, Pop Tarts Bites, the company sought market data to determine placement, assortment and promotion in store.

Traditional tests—online surveys and in-home user tests—showed that consumers expected to find new products higher up on a shelf.

With Kellogg’s, Accenture Extended Reality (XR) developed a VR solution based on the Qualcomm reference headset powered by the Snapdragon 845 with embedded eye-tracking that produced a slightly different answer, and the results offer a glimpse at a new reality for brands, retailers and consumer testing. Accenture designed an immersive experience based on Kellogg’s real-world need to test the product placement and assortment and pricing strategy for the launch of Pop Tarts Bites. They tested a pilot program of the VR solution in which customers wore VR headsets as they shopped in a “real” store.

Mobile VR with eye-tracking helps brands and retailers extend their reach to geographically dispersed participants, performing research faster, more affordably and at larger scale, while providing holistic conclusions.

Value delivered

The pilot showed that VR Merchandising, using mobile VR headsets with embedded eye-tracking, provides more holistic data and a faster, lower-cost process.

The VR testing revealed that when the Pop Tarts Bites were placed on a lower shelf—rather than higher up where consumers typically expect to find new products—testers paid more attention to other surrounding Pop Tarts products. That stimulated additional sales of Pop Tarts items, with an overall 18 percent brand sales increase during testing.

The experience shows VR merchandising pays off in at least four ways:

Expands testing reach to diverse locations

VR headsets can be used in consumers’ homes, at stores and during product roadshows.

Improves experience in branded environment

Shoppers walk through a realistic virtual store model, look at shelves, pick up and examine products, and place selections directly into their carts.

Increases dataset for analytics

Brands can gather deeper data in a way that does not interrupt the shopping experience.

Decreases costs while improving flexibility

Easy to test a variety of planogram combinations in a faster, cost-effective manner and reach a holistic conclusion for the product and category.

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