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What is Virtual Shopping?
Virtual shopping is the use of computer-driven store simulation technologies to conduct market research and achieve other key business objectives. A common functionality of virtual shopping is the technology allowing the user to "shop" by selecting specific products, either by clicking with a mouse, touching the screen or using a more advanced interactive device; doing so draws up a larger version of the product's packaging for closer inspection and consideration. Test subjects (or respondents) then have the option to "buy" the product or place it back on the shelf (In-Store Marketing, 2009). Virtual shopping is most often used to test:
- product assortment
- shelf organization
Some companies also use virtual shopping to test the effectiveness of in store marketing and merchandising concepts. A few vanguard companies are using virtual shopping to examine category adjacencies and overall store layout (In-Store Marketing, 2009).