Accenture, Qualcomm and Kellogg launch VR merchandising tech

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Accenture, Qualcomm Technologies and Kellogg Company have teamed up to combine eye-tracking technology with a mobile virtual reality (VR) headset to reinvent how brands and retailers gather critical consumer data and perform market research.

The Accenture extended reality (XR) practice developed the VR merchandising solution using a Qualcomm VR reference design headset, powered by the Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform.

The VR merchandising solution features embedded eye-tracking and mixed reality software from InContext Solutions, as well as eye-tracking data analytics capabilities from Cognitive3D.

According to Accenture, the resulting experience immerses consumers in a full-scale, simulated store, enabling them to move through the space, shop, pick up products and place them in baskets—all while monitoring what consumers are looking at, for how long and why.

Accenture said the mobile solution is “designed to allow companies to extend their reach to more geographically dispersed participants and perform market research faster, more affordably and on a larger scale”.

The solution was tested with the launch of Kellogg Company’s new Pop Tarts Bites. The mobile VR eye-tracking solution provided far deeper behavioural data than standard testing, Accenture said, which typically relies on online surveys and in-home user tests.

This new data led to an entirely different merchandising conclusion than what was determined by traditional methods, Accenture explained. Rather than placing Pop Tarts Bites on higher shelves, which conventional testing indicated was where consumers expected to find new products, the VR solution demonstrated that optimal placement for the new product was on lower shelves. This led to an increase in brand sales of 18 percent during testing.

“Our VR merchandising solution has the potential to transform product placement by examining consumer buying behavior in a holistic way,” said Raffaella Camera, global head of innovation and market strategy at Accenture XR.

“By combining the power of VR with eye-tracking and analytics capabilities, it allows significant new insights to be captured while consumers shop by monitoring where and how they evaluate all products across an entire shelf or aisle. Ultimately, this enables product placement decisions to be made that can positively impact total brand sales, versus only single product sales.”

“When trying to best assess a future product’s shelf placement, this new methodology provided optimal guidance from both a product and category perspective”

Jenny McDaniels, senior manager of category strategy at Kellogg Company

Jenny McDaniels, senior manager of category strategy at Kellogg Company, added: “When trying to best assess a future product’s shelf placement, this new methodology provided optimal guidance from both a product and category perspective. This approach provided multiple data outputs, which in turn, created a holistic solution that would drive success for both the category and product.”

“XR provides transformative value to the enterprise,” commented Patrick Costello, senior director of business development at Qualcomm Technologies. “At Qualcomm Technologies, we develop foundational XR technology through our VR reference designs that are engineered to enable companies to evaluate and quickly launch devices. This proof of concept with Accenture and Kellogg Company demonstrates the benefits of full immersion and eye-tracking and we expect several customers to follow with similar deployments.”

The VR merchandising solution will be on display at MWC 2019 Barcelona from 25 to 28 February 25-28 in the Accenture booth.

It will also be on display at South by Southwest from 8 to 11 March in the Accenture Interactive Experience Cantina.