High street powerhouse Argos is using virtual stores developed by leading in-store marketing company bezier to help plan its tactical and seasonal campaigns within the retail environment.
The technology allows in-store marketing and merchandising teams to view different areas of a store with mocked-up POS, signage and layouts in order to maximise the customer’s experience as they enter an Argos store.
Argos store design and display manager, Karen Gray, said, “This new method of trialling in-store campaigns is fantastic, and has revolutionised the way we approach planning our promotions.
“Whereas the old method of testing might involve a lengthy procedure of designing, printing and physically putting a potential set of POS out in-store, this new method allows us to look at what the finished setup will look like, without the time and cost associated with the older method.”
She added, “Not only is it cost saving in terms of physical output, but it omits the necessity for store visits from senior executives, which can often be a drain on time and resources.”
“The stores are shot from a fixed point, and every angle of the store available to view from this point can then be mocked up with different campaign ideas, including looking at the spacing of the hanging signs, and in particular the order of messaging a customer will encounter as they enter a store.”
Martin Fawcett, creative director at bezier’s creative shopper agency, bluetouch, said that though VR was certainly not a new technology, he believed they were one of the first agencies to employ its benefits in this way.
He added, “VR has traditionally been used by architects to help design and develop public spaces, – however, we are taking this one step further by providing this service, twinned with possibilities of how an environment could look.
“By moving different elements of the in-store environment around within the virtual store, we advise our clients on what designs and messaging would provide the best customer experience. A further advantage is that we can plan for store layout problems by creating designs that are easier to implement, therefore improving compliance.”
The VR method of testing can also help brands and retailers reduce their carbon footprint, with less call for the use of physical materials and production.