Simulated Shopping with Shelf Sets

  • Simulated Shopping with Shelf Sets
    Decision Analyst's Logician® Simulated Shopping with 3D animation creates a realistic virtual environment that emulates the retail shopping experience in an online survey.
    Typically, the respondent sees a store “fly in” that recreates the experience of entering a store and going to a particular section. This “fly in” can be actual video or 3D animation. Sounds, signage, and other shoppers can be included to add realism. Once the respondent arrives at the desired section of the store, the “fly in” fades to a shelf set, a virtual representation of the retail shelf with packages and pricing shown. The respondent can take packages off the shelf, view them close up, or zoom in on a side panel, back panel, etc., and place purchased brands into a shopping cart. Lastly, the respondent checks out with his/her purchases.

Typically, the respondent then repeats the “fly in” and shops the shelf set a second time, and then a third time, and so on. On each shopping trip (or each scenario) the marketing variables change according to an experimental design. This systematic variation of marketing variables permits the effects of each variable to be isolated and measured.

The types of marketing variables measured include:

  • Shelf Impact—How effective is the package in attracting consumers' attention? Do consumers notice the package?
  • Shelf Position—What is the effect on market share of a top-shelf position versus an eye-level position?
  • Facings—What is the value of two facings on the retail shelf versus one?
  • Competitive Position—Does the brand do better when placed next to private-label brands or next to the leading market brand?
  • Imagery—What image is a package projecting? This can be an “add on” to a choice modeling design.
  • Persuasion—How likely are respondents to purchase the product based on the package and related variables?
  • Price-Demand Curves—What is the optimal price? Which price is most profitable? Which price maximizes market share?
  • Volumetric Forecast—What will year-one sales volume be for a new product or a new package? Decision Analyst's Conceptor® models are integrated with choice modeling to estimate first-year retail depletions.
The Shelf-Set Display of Packages

Digital photography is used to create professional, color-accurate, and shadow-free photographs of the brands' packages in the target product category. An image of the shelf set is created for the product category (including competitive products). Respondents are shown a series of shelf sets, which include each of the products with relevant information (price, package size, flavor, etc.). For each shelf set (or each scenario), respondents are asked to choose the product they would purchase, if any. During the simulated shopping exercises, respondents can:

  • Click on a product and look at it more closely.
  • View all sides of the package up close for details.
  • Put the product in their shopping cart.
  • Return the product to the shelf.

Example Shelf Sets for Choice Modeling

Choice Modeling

Different product offerings, prices, etc., can be tested, and multiple shopping experiences can be created, based on a choice modeling experimental design.

Many different marketing variables can be tested, such as price, shelf location, number of facings, competitive influence, advertising message, and type of package. An experimental design is created to present a series of choice scenarios for each respondent. When taking the survey, respondents are shown a series of shelf sets, which include each of the marketing variables. For each set respondents are asked to choose which product they would purchase, if any. The resulting data is the foundation for a DecisionSimulator™ so that "what if" games can be played—to reveal the effects of hundreds of different combinations of marketing variables.

Conceptor® Volumetric Forecasting

New products can be evaluated and year one retail depletions (sales volume at retail) forecasted using Decision Analyst's Conceptor® models integrated with choice modeling.

Package Testing Services

Decision Analyst is a global marketing research and analytical consulting firm with more than 40 years of experience in packaging research. We are a world leader in online packaging research. If you would like more information on Package Testing, please contact Jerry W. Thomas, President/CEO, by emailing him at, or by calling 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.