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Virtual store testing is quickly becoming a popular way for consumer marketing groups to determine real-world consumer choice. They provide an accelerated and more accurate way to simulate a customer’s shopping selection experience than traditional in-store methods. Being able to disregard other roaming customers and not having to worry about out-of-stock products yields far greater results for the simulated shopping test.
Utilizing virtual store testing has minimized the necessity for on-site field testing, saving time and effort that came with, what was traditionally, the only alternative option. A combination of functional and visually realistic 2-D and 3-D simulation technology helps create facility layouts that accurately replicate the experience of shopping through the aisles of a store. The virtual store simulations are typically operated on a standard monitor as well, so there is not any special high-tech equipment needed to experience them (although a larger monitor or life-sized environment may provide a higher quality of experience). While old-school methods of store testing can also conjure results that can help your company make meaningful decisions, they do not compare to virtual testing in terms of speed, innovation, or cost effectiveness--minus the cost of creating the simulation, research has shown that the cost is worth the investment and saves money long-term.
Understanding how customers think when they are conducting their shopping through a store and browsing the aisles is a major part of performing virtual store tests. The tests make it possible to tailor the customer’s shopping experience by collecting data and using it to enhance said shopping experience, either by upgrading store facility designs for more convenient shopping or by creating methods that best suit the customer’s wants.
Offering an easy and fluid shopping experience for the customer is of utmost importance, and it also helps strengthen customer loyalty. Virtual store testing is paramount for discovering customer patterns and making changes to best serve the public. Research America has the tools and experience to conduct a variety of virtual store tests using 2D and 3D computer simulation technology and can create retail experiences that are as close to the real shopping experience as possible.Next Steps