Create a Better, Faster, Smarter Shopping Experience through the Perfect Shelf!
By Rose Grabowski, Global Marketing Director, CPG-Retail, Dassault Systèmes
According to Symphony IRI, more than 80 percent of new product introductions fail in year one. Combine that with the steep cost just to get a new product on the shelf, and it is clear that consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, as well as the retailers who sell their products, need to find ways to break this cycle in order to increase success with new product introductions.
A critical first step: realizing that in today’s marketplace, consumers are in control. Social media growth has led to consumers having a greater voice and seeking stronger connections with brands. Consumers want to connect with brands they care about, have better shopping experiences than ever before, and purchase products that both meet their value expectations and are safe for their family and planet. Introducing them to the product development process is one way to connect with consumers while taking advantage of their real-time feedback to deliver better products.
When it comes to success on the shelf, this means taking the consumers’ perspective and understanding their purchase behavior inside a store.
Improving the In-Store Experience
Store layouts and product shelving optimization are two critical factors tied to the consumer’s shopping experience. The ultimate goal for both retailers and CPG companies is to design a shopping experience that exactly fits the consumer’s wants and needs, allowing them to find what they want when they want it – quickly and easily – which results in increased sales.
In addition, CPG companies want to provide new product offerings, establish strong retail–brand partnerships, and significantly enhance their ability to express their views of the category in the store. The ultimate goal is to continue to grow and profit from their new innovations, along with delighting the customer. At the same time, retailers want to design a superior shopping experience that’s faster, cheaper and drives compliance across stores.
Achieving the Perfect Shelf
One way for CPG companies and retailers to accomplish these goals and improve the in-store experience is to define, design and deploy a shelf space strategy leveraging 3D technology and digital mock-ups to more clearly visualize, discuss, optimize and interact with shelving and store layout ideas. This enables CPG companies and retailers to better imagine, validate and deploy optimum shopping experiences.
3D technology with advanced real-time visualization provides highly realistic views of stores: shelves, products on them, lighting, building, people, promotional panels, just like in real life. In a simulated retail environment, category and space managers, buyers, C-level and brand managers are able to effectively collaborate with their business partners using interactive, 3D virtual stores to review merchandising plans. By allowing the creation of 3D product representations efficiently from 2D pictures, which can then be used to populate virtual shelves and stores, 3D technology enables the shopping experience design process to take place inside life-like, 3D environments, significantly faster and at less cost than if you built a real store. In addition, precise and easy-to-deploy instructions can be generated on the fly and sent to stores. As a result, shelving will be executed right the first time, compliance between stores and specifications will increase, and collaboration between retailers and manufacturers will be improved.
In addition to improving the internal processes involved in achieving the perfect shelf, 3D technology can also enable consumers to become part of the process. More specifically, retailers and CPG companies can gain a better understanding of what consumers will feel and how they will behave in an actual store by enabling them to experience various store layouts and shelves virtually. The 3D environment provides flexibility for the CPG companies and retailers, who can measure how consumer sentiment changes when modifications to the virtual shelves are made. As a result, CPG companies and retailers benefit from real feedback before decisions on layouts – and investments – are made.
Steering Business in Real-Time: How 3D Technology Can Influence the In-Store Process
The following six stages outline how CPG companies and retailers can benefit step by step through the use of 3D technology in their shelving strategies:
- Discover: Understand consumer trends, shopper behavior and category results to define a new shelf strategy.
- Design: Design new shelf strategy, planogram, fixtures and merchandising elements.
- Adapt: Adapt merchandising strategy to multiple store formats and local needs.
- Convince: Deliver shelf space recommendation to management and partners.
- Operate: Assist store managers to implement at point of sale.
- Measure: Measure impact of new shelf strategy.
The primary benefits of this strategy include:
- Cost Savings: Though there is some initial cost to invest in 3D technology, it’s typically far less expensive than current market tests.
- Flexibility: Virtual technology enables multiple scenarios to be tested simultaneously.
- Speed: Although initial setup can take a few weeks longer than traditional research methods, virtual tests are faster in the long term, especially in comparison with field tests.
- Scale: 3D technology enables the ability to scale across the enterprise with ease.
- Confidentiality: With 3D technology, these tests are conducted out of the eyes of competitors and enable organizations to test competitively advantaged layouts in private settings.
3D technology enables CPG companies to optimize processes from end to end. They can explore display options more efficiently by eliminating the cost and time required to develop physical mock-ups, positioning products against competitors to improve their offering. In addition, they can conduct what-if analysis and forecasting to determine likely demand for new products and collaborate strategically with the retailer throughout the merchandising process, resulting in enhanced category insights. This, in turn, allows them to enhance their view of the product category (validated by the consumer feedback), gain category leadership, increased presence and revenue, and achieve quicker time to shelf.
Retailers are able to transform insights gained from the 3D technology into in-store execution. Additionally, they maintain respect for the design intent by creating reusable merchandising templates driven by category management decisions and generate and print easy to understand merchandising instructions for successful in-store deployment. This results in enhanced revenue and profit, an improved shopping experience for consumers, precision retailing across stores, operational excellence and shelf compliance.
Better, Faster, Smarter Shopping Experiences
By realistically simulating retail settings inside immersive, lifelike 3D environments, CPG companies and retailers can better imagine, validate and deployoptimum shopping experiences while increasing product appeal, brand and category profitability, and differentiating themselves from the competition. Consumers gain enhanced brand perception and an improved overall shopping experience. In a world where consumer is king, those brands that provide the best in-store feel will gain a significant edge in the increasingly competitive CPG industry.
About the Author
Rose Grabowski, Global Marketing Director for CPG-Retail. Rose is responsible for all marketing programs worldwide for CPG-Retail that promote the business value provided by Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company, to CPG-Retail companies every day. Rose comes with 20+ years of cross-functional leadership experience with a fortune 500 Consumer Packaged Goods company and has been with Dassualt Systèmes for 4 years. Her experience spans the areas of Strategy, Marketing, Sales and Operations. For more information, contact Rosemary.Grabowski@3DS.com, or visit, www.3ds.com/CPG-Retail.
Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. Its world-leading solutions transform the way products are designed, produced, and supported. Dassault Systèmes’ collaborative solutions foster social innovation, expanding possibilities for the virtual world to improve the real world. The group brings value to over 150,000 customers of all sizes, in all industries, in more than 80 countries. For more information, visit www.3ds.com
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