Mondelez tests packaging and merchandising impact with VR

Multinational snacks and beverage company Mondelēz International partnered with NextGen insights agency Join the Dots I InSites Consulting and leading virtual reality (VR) market research platform provider Gorilla in the room, to understand the extent to which shelf-ready packaging and merchandising impacts shopper behaviours at in-store fixtures.

The key challenge in this study was to replicate a realistic shopping experience and test multiple fixtures with a quantitative sample, in order for Mondelēz International 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 in-store 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. 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.” Malakai De-Morgan, Shopper Insight Manager, Mondelēz International.

Together, Join the Dots I InSites Consulting and Gorilla in the room designed an innovative VR study for Mondelēz International that would:

  1. Establish an optimal planogram presentation in supermarkets through fixture testing
  2. Capture quantitative data insight in a realistic shopping experience

To achieve these objectives, VR stimulus was integrated into a mobile-first survey which respondents completed at home using their smartphones and cardboard VR views. In a world first, behavioural data indicating attention was captured within the VR experience and combined with explicit survey data to deliver new insights. 360° videos of the target shelf were filmed in a supermarket aisle when the shop was closed. Three different fixture planogram presentations were created, and in post-production CGI changes were made to labels and product prices. 300 people were recruited to complete the survey from The Snack Chat, an online research community of UK shoppers run by Join the Dots I InSites Consulting for Mondelēz International. During the survey, respondents were prompted to insert their smartphone in the VR viewer and, after a 30-second VR experience, they were automatically returned to the survey to select the products they recognised from the VR shelf.

“Our whole philosophy is built on utilising the most innovative approaches to uncover true human understanding and behaviour. 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 in confectionery. 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.” Gavin Holt, Commercial Director, Join the Dots I InSites Consulting.

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.

The insights from this innovative shelf test have enabled Mondelēz International to prioritize investment into shelf-ready packaging, and confirm merchandising principles into supermarkets. Join the Dots I InSites Consulting now offer VR shelf tests as part of their toolkit, and 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 have rolled out virtual- and augmented reality 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. 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.” Jonathan Barrowman, CEO, Gorilla in the room.

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