World’s first smartphone-based VR study counters COVID-19 restrictions to uncover shopper insights for Mondelēz

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

An innovative VR consumer study enables brands to measure shopper purchasing decisions without respondents leaving their homes. Pic: GettyImages/Kwangmoozaa
An innovative VR consumer study enables brands to measure shopper purchasing decisions without respondents leaving their homes. Pic: GettyImages/Kwangmoozaa

Related tags: Mondelez International, Join the Dots I InSites Consulting, Gorilla in the room, consumer behaviour, Virtual reality

The multinational snack producer partnered with NextGen insights agency Join the Dots I InSites Consulting and virtual reality (VR) market researcher Gorilla in the room to understand how shelf-ready packaging and merchandising impacts shopper behaviour, without study respondents leaving their homes.

The key challenge was to replicate a realistic shopping experience and test multiple fixtures with a quantitative sample in order for Mondelēz to make a sound business decision.

Traditionally, 2D pictures of planograms or on-screen CGI (computer-generated imagery) simulations have been used; however, it is widely acknowledged that these aren’t realistic representations of a supermarket shopping experience. In this instance, there was concern that lack of context at the point of purchase wouldn’t deliver real-world insights. Conducting a large-scale face-to-face study instore was also considered to be logistically challenging and cost-prohibitive when gathering quantitative data on shopper preferences.

“At Mondelēz, we continue to look for ways to test and learn hypotheses through agile research approaches,”​ said Malakai De-Morgan, shopper insight Manager for Mondelēz.

“With this project, we’ve been able to combine shopper feedback using VR alongside capturing behavioural data to not only confirm our hypotheses but change investments into the shopping environment to drive category growth.”

The study

Join the Dots I InSites Consulting and Gorilla in the room designed the world’s first smartphone-based VR study for Mondelēz to establish the optimal planogram – visual representations of a store’s products on display. It was also devised to capture quantitative data insight in a realistic shopping experience.

Three hundred participants were recruited from The Snack Chat, an online research community of UK shoppers run by Join the Dots I InSites Consulting for Mondelēz. Respondents completed the survey at home using smartphones and cardboard VR views. Behavioural data indicating attention was captured through a VR experience and was combined with survey data to deliver new insights.

Respondents were shown 360° videos of the target supermarket shelf. Three different fixture planograms were created, and in post-production, CGI changes were made to labels and product prices. During the survey, respondents were prompted to insert their smartphone in the VR viewer and, after a 30-second VR experience, were automatically returned to the survey to select the products they recognised from the VR shelf.

Mondelez VR study

Insight from this innovative shelf test has enabled Mondelēz to prioritise investment into shelf-ready packaging, and confirm merchandising principles into supermarkets. For example, across the different planograms tested, there was a significant role demonstrated by brand colour in capturing shoppers’ attention as well as the ability to aid ease of shopping and therefore subsequent purchases.

“Our whole philosophy is built on utilising the most innovative approaches to uncover true human understanding and behaviour,”​ said Gavin Holt, commercial director of Join the Dots I InSites Consulting.

“In this instance, we jumped at the chance of combining the latest thinking in virtual reality with our own proprietary platforms, to explore the different behavioural triggers that impact shopper behaviours.

“The results were fascinating and helped us provide an additional layer of understanding to Mondelēz that would have been impossible to get at through any other approach.”

Consumer research amid COVID restrictions

Join the Dots I InSites Consulting is now offering VR shelf tests as part of its toolkit to deliver real-word stimulus to respondents in their homes as a new methodology to counter COVID-19 restrictions on consumer research.

Gorilla in the room has also rolled out VR – as well as augmented reality (AR) – behavioural data globally on its market research platform with studies in the US, Germany and South Korea.

“Our market research mobile platform enables brands to measure shopper purchase decisions in a real-word context, without respondents leaving their homes,” ​said Jonathan Barrowman, CEO of Gorilla in the room.

“Adding behavioural data to mobile quant studies is a step-change for the industry with real-world insights, helping Mondelēz to make confident investment decisions.”

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