Understanding Consumer Response to Category Management Through Virtual Reality

Stephen P. Needel
Simulation Research, Inc.


Category management is becoming a common business practice in the consumer packaged-goods industry. However, few research tools exist to help manufacturers and retailers study the impact of category management initiatives. This paper presents a virtual reality shopping simulation, known as Visionary Shopper® , which allows us to consider the sales implications of changing product assortments and layouts in the store, without the cost, timing, or difficulties of in-store testing. A series of examples of how this system has been used are presented.

INTRODUCTION

In their 1991 book The Marketing Revolution Kevin Clancy and Robert Shulman argue that there will be a marketing revolution in which marketers will he forced to ….do new things in new ways. They will compel marketing departments to abandon myth and ignorance and consider hundreds.. of alternatives to every marketing decision to find the optimal one. And they will hold marketing executives accountable for a measurable return on the marketing investment (Clancy and Shulman, 1991).