“Unseen Is Unsold:” VR & Analytics Study What and Why Shoppers Buy

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look at them, place them in a basket. The headsets capture eye-tracking while they’re doing this: where they are looking, how they are behaving. There is a green screen set up, and we see on our monitor what they’re doing and precisely what they’re looking at.

Eye-tracking is one of the most powerful tools you can use in terms of understanding [buyer behavior]. Unseen is unsold. It gives us a sense, is your product being noticed on shelves? Eye movement … is a sign of engagement. We can analyze shelf setup. Is your product being seen as much as you would expect given how much shelf space the product is taking up. Are they noticing you, but then not converting that into a sale?

Are you performing as well as you would expect to? That has implications in terms of how you set up a shelf.

X: What are your retail customers looking for help for?

AS: With all the change taking place in retail, a lot of retailers are trying to optimize the experience in their stores. They’re looking to test ideas in the reinvention of the store of the future. Before they roll [possible ideas] out, they have the ability to build and do a test location, and then do iterative-type testing.

They want to see how they can create unique online and in-store experiences. [Grocery] is looking at offering more prepared meals and pre-ordering. What is the reason to go to the grocery store, to go to physical location? What do they do to make that engaging? Is it around grab-and-go or experiences like cooking classes?

Most convenience stores [are focused on helping customers] get more in that convenience trip: healthy, easy snacking, health and wellness is a general theme. How does that manifest itself? Does that mean a yoga studio is attached? How do they use their real estate differently?

The idea is to bring interest and a reason to do more frequent trips. So you always know something new is going to be there.

X: What are the technologies retail needs to be most focused on?

AS: Beacons, augmented reality/virtual reality, RFID, data analytics, robotics and inventory tracking. Walmart (NYSE: WMT) is doing that now. [Editor’s note: We’ll be exploring this topic in an upcoming Xconomy story.] There is need for technology around customer service, autonomous driving stores.

X: Who is doing this well?

AS: Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) buying Whole Foods is the biggest example. People are saying retail is dead. But not necessarily. Bigger e-commerce companies are buying up great retailers. How do we integrate that? There is retailing in different locations like Warby Parker in Grand Central [Terminal in New York]. The idea is creating brand engagement.

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