5 AR/VR Solutions To Improve Merchandising in 2021

5 AR/VR Solutions To Improve Merchandising in 2021

Nowadays, retail uses Augmented and Virtual Reality for improving shopping experience in offline and online stores. Most often this approach applies to 3D displaying of products only. However, the possibilities of immersive technologies are much wider, especially in the merchandising field. VR and AR apps can help to test planograms, demonstrate products, and collect customer behavior data to make the shopping experience even more enjoyable. Let’s talk about how AR and VR shape the future of merchandising in our new article.

Merchandising is aiming to achieve the following goals: 

  • New products placement
  • SKU Rationalization
  • Alternative pricing scenarios and promotions testing
  • Sales impact from displaying and advertising measurement
  • Sales impact of packaging changes determination
  • Shopper decision tree design
  • Qualitative research

However, achieving each of these goals requires the use of different optimization tools. One of such tools is Virtual and Augmented Reality. Thanks to their unique features, AR and VR can help to model and improve promotional displays more effectively as well as collect customer behavior analytics.

How AR and VR improve merchandising?

Immersive technologies provide an opportunity to experience a life-like activity for both marketers and customers. In particular, marketers use VR for shaping product layouts and testing how convenient product placement is for buyers. VR can be also used for collecting customer behavior data, which is crucial for measuring and assessing the effectiveness of merchandising.

Traditionally focus group surveys were used to collect this information. However, studies show that data obtained in this way is often untrue. This is where VR can be used for consumer testing. Such approach is a new way of simulating shopping experience within a virtual store that helps merchandisers to decide how to layout retail space.

In return, AR apps allow to visualize the planning inside the store and is also a great tool for digitizing planograms. Such approach allows marketers to use planograms to display goods in the POS conveniently, as well as check the compliance of product layouts.

These are just a few examples of how Virtual and Augmented Reality are being applied in merchandising. Now let’s look at specific use-cases.

Virtual Reality for collecting customer behavior data

Each marketing cycle is an important part of product promotion. Attention-capturing testing is a useful tool for verifying advertising strategies in merchandising. One of the best tools for collecting information about what triggers customers’ attention is Virtual Reality with eye-tracking technology. It is much more efficient than focus-group surveys because it is less likely to be biased by recall than self-reported measures of attention. So it helps retailers simulate shopping experiences in a cheaper virtual environment to define the placement of products. These decisions can sway millions in revenue when at scale.

VR apps with eye-tracking help brands and retailers to understand their audience better, as well as test and improve their promotional strategies. Virtual Reality Apps for Merchandising help retail businesses to extend their reach to geographically dispersed participants, perform research faster, more affordably, and at a larger scale while providing holistic conclusions.

AR/VR for testing new POS environments

Virtual and Augmented reality can simulate any retail environments and shopping experiences. Thanks to immersion, these technologies are a great tool for testing and improving shopping experience. In particular, they show marketing and merchandising managers how and where the shelves should be placed, how exactly the products should be laid out on the shelves, advertising exhibitions, shop windows, etc.

With the help of VR goggles or a regular smartphone and tablet, managers can see the closest to reality view of products and advertising displays. Moreover, marketers can change and improve the design of the shelves before they are manufactured. As a result, this approach reduces costs and time spent on creating effective promotional displays. No more misunderstandings and approximations.

AR/VR for Virtual Showrooms and Staging

VR and AR technologies allow marketers to design their own digital showrooms or stores in a virtual environment. Therefore, retailers can significantly reduce both costs and man-hours by eliminating the need to regularly update the decorations of the store.

In addition, the implementation of AR and VR gives customers the opportunity to experience a completely new shopping experience. It is especially relevant during a pandemic. In this way, the customer can walk around the virtual store and interact with virtual products before buying their physical version. All this he can do while staying at home. Isn’t that impressive!

Our company already has experience in creating such projects. In particular, SmartTek experts have designed and developed a full-fledged showroom for Jaguar. AR Jaguar Car Showroom is an augmented reality app for iOS and Android platforms that recreates the lifelike experience of examining a real-sized luxury vehicle in any location, providing users a unique chance to check out the desired car without visiting a showroom. Developed as a showcase solution it allows car brands to demonstrate autos to their clients all over the world.

Read more about this project here.

AR/VR POS Merchandising Tool

Such Augmented Reality applications take into account all types of promotional stands/displays/showcases and contain “cells” where merchandisers or POS employees can place products. Besides, having such an app, managers will be able to conveniently and comfortably manage the displaying of any products on shelves and stands. All they need is to have the application installed, open it, and point it on the shelf. 

The AR system recognizes the shelf from any angle and shows exactly which products should be placed in a particular cell. As a result, POS employees have specific visual instructions on how to place goods, and merchandisers can easily check whether they are displayed correctly.

Moreover, marketers can update planograms each marketing cycle. This information will automatically synchronize with the application, so it is always up to date.

VR/AR Samples of Any Products

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality eliminate the need to keep expensive and bulky samples on hand. Besides, VR and AR also help retailers to show the customer how to use the product properly. As a result, businesses reduce real costs related to logistics, losses, and manufacturing samples. Moreover, since a person has the opportunity to gain experience with the product, the number of purchases increases, and the number of returns drops.

Summing Up

Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies allow marketers and merchandisers to better understand factors that impact the buying behavior of their customers, as well as collect large amounts of data.

SmartTek team specializes in software solutions for the retail industry. Our experts will determine the right combination of technologies for your project as well as provide you with various services including VR/AR applications design, development, and 3D modeling.

Want to get a quote for your project? – Just contact us here.