Inner Truth is an unconventional market research and strategy consultancy that doesn't just provide traditional research approaches but combines the old with the new and emerging.
The retail environment is under pressure - consumers/shoppers demand experiences, however shopping research in the 'real' world is often limited to pre-concept understanding or post-concept evaluations. There is no opportunity to understand changes to the layout, products, pricing, shelves, point of sale (POS) to determine what elements drive the shopping experience and ultimately sales in a 'close' to real environment.
Sure, building temporary shop fronts, shelves or working with retailers to change 'real' things is one way to do it but is:
1) costly (average costs are typcially min $300k to over million depending on changes),
2) timely (often months) and
3) inflexible (one change or two usually maximum)
4) extremely inefficient (sourcing, shipping, deconstruction, reconstruction, disruption on retail trading, then conducting research).
Add to those limitations, that most previous and current virtual methods use poorly designed 2D images or 3D models that either do not reflect the retail environment; provide minimal opportunity to interact or unfortunately both.
Limited design, limited interaction equates to limited insight and limited financial gain.
Our Virtual Neuroshopping environment platform seeks to solve many of these issues. We construct virtual high definition environments (e.g. super markets, shopping aisles, liquor stores, car dealerships - you name it) in a high definition gaming environment.
By utilising a gaming software platform we create environments that are completely interactive to the user and with the world leading designers putting together the assets - realism is second to none.
The insight generation is limited only by the clients imagination. By allowing research participants to navigate an environment and behave as close to the real thing as you can get the opportunities are endless.
We don't just use mouse clicks (these are important for capturing sales data and lost sales) but use eye tracking to understand exactly what the users are looking at while moving around the environment - we can identify key products of interest, point of sale performance, purchasing behaviours, shopper paths, dead sales areas in the store such high impact shelving.
Taken one step further, when combined with full brain wave recording the unfiltered non-verbal effectiveness of the retail environment is obtained with key measures of neural engagement and emotional responses are mapped with the eye tracking data.
Sales and lost sales are critical findings and by capturing the products they purchased (or didn't - ie inspected but put back) provides confidence in understanding and predicting the financial implications.
The further benefits are the ability to change the environment with new ideas such as product placement, POS, shelf layouts, shelf designs, packaging changes, pricing changes can all be done within a day or two (asset dependent) so the research can be iterative; multiple concepts; concepts in multiple categories or a combination are all possible.
A prototype store can be seen at www.innertruth.co and just click on the 'Labs' tab at the top of the page.