Start-ups will have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of consumer behaviour and test concepts at Nielsen’s newly-launched ShopperLAB research facility, located in Sydney. Nielsen, which provides information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, launched the facility at the company’s inaugural Pacific Consumer 360 conference in the Blue Mountains. The ShopperLAB, which is now fully installed in Nielsen’s Sydney head office, claims to be the first full shopper experience lab to be built in the Pacific region. It will enable retailers and manufacturers to better understand shopping behaviour, and test new concepts through observation, interviews, eye-tracking and neuroscience. The facility – aimed primarily at marketers, category managers and sales directors – promises to deliver in-depth insights into how shoppers react to packaging, point of sale, range alterations, layout changes and aisle activation. According to Rachel Shaw, associate director of Nielsen’s shopper practice, 25% of new products fail in the market so there is a real need to facilitate proper testing. “Shoppers generally spend just 15 seconds interacting with a product category so brands need to know how, when and where to communicate their strongest messages,” Shaw said in a statement. According to Nielsen, 99% of behaviour is subconscious, meaning what shoppers say does not necessarily equal what they do. The ShopperLAB encourages brands to observe and analyse shopping behaviour in real-life situations, enabling brands to test concepts without encroaching on a working retail store. It uses a range of technologies to gain a better understanding of shopper behaviour, including neuro technology to understand what shoppers think. Eye-tracking equipment is used to determine what shoppers see, while virtual shopping devices comprehend what shoppers do when faced with different products and shopping conditions. “How shoppers feel when they interact with products can even impact on buying rates,” Shaw said. “Designs based on neuro shopper research have seen uplifts of up to 7% just by making point-of-sale marketing friendlier to the human brain.” According to David O’Brien, customer marketing manager of Wrigley, the ShopperLAB has allowed the company to explore the shopper psyche in a new level of detail. O’Brien commended Nielsen on its “unique approach and cutting-edge technology”. But Nielsen isn’t the only company helping start-ups test concepts. Squeeze1, based in Perth and led by 18-year-old James Billingham, is a website where entrepreneurs and companies can test their ideas before investing in them. With the tagline “Anything could happen”, the site centres around non-official petitions – called “limes” – and “squeezes”, which refer to signups. “Squeeze1.com will be a great platform for entrepreneurs to help them understand what the people want,” Billingham told StartupSmart in February. “Whether you have a start-up that’s been going for years or you haven’t launched yet, Squeeze1 could help you with big decisions.”
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