EXPERT COLUMN: Leveraging Virtual Reality in the CPG Industry


The adoption of virtual reality technology is gaining steam in the CPG industry, enabling brands and marketers to transform store merchandising and shopper marketing programs.

Savvy marketers are discovering the speed, versatility, cost-savings and competitive advantage that can be achieved by incorporating virtual reality into their business strategies.

The Need for Virtual Reality Technology

Traditionally, CPG brands have used in-store planograms and set stores to evaluate merchandising tactics and visualize store layouts. In addition to being costly and slow, these approaches often failed to deliver the immediate data insights that are crucial in today’s marketplace.

Virtual reality technology now offers a faster and more efficient process for gathering marketing insights, conducting visual merchandising reviews and testing environments. This provides instant and detailed data insights to help CPG brands and retailers plan and market more effectively. Designed to simulate a real-world environment, consumers and merchandising executives have the ability to browse aisles and shelves in a virtual store populated with rich, 3D product models. Virtual reality technology eliminates the need for building and maintaining costly physical test stores.

The combined impact of high-quality 3D content libraries and virtual store models enables brands to create precise replicas of stores in the virtual space, dramatically reducing speed-to-market times and improving the effectiveness of insights captured from merchandising and marketing efforts.

Benefits of Virtual Reality for CPG

There are several reasons why virtual reality technology is increasing in popularity in the CPG industry to drive competitive advantage and bottom line business outcomes.

  • Speed -- Speed is clearly one of the major benefits of virtual reality in the CPG industry. It’s not unusual for CPG marketers to display virtual shelves in front of multiple sets of consumers and receive detailed consumer feedback quickly. This substantially reduces the time-to-market for new products or product lines.
  • Versatility -- Virtual reality enables marketers to quickly create many different scenarios, allowing them to test several ideas, store sets and merchandising plans in less time than it typically takes to test and evaluate a single concept.
  • Cost -- The long-term cost of using virtual reality for merchandising and marketing is much lower than the cost of maintaining a set store or executing other traditional market research.

The task of creating a virtual store and stocking the shelves with an accurate 3D library of products is one of the main obstacles encountered by CPG brands interested in leveraging virtual reality. But using new and innovative technologies, the transition to a virtual store is less costly and faster than you might think.

Steve Cole is the chief marketing officer at Gladson.

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