Today, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) manufacturers and Retailers invest time and money to develop a planogram layout that can best drive category sales. But once executed at store level, the planogram tends to end up in a file and perhaps dusted off and used as a starting point when the next line review is put on the calendar. Meanwhile, if you want to know how the category is performing in relation to the planogram that was designed, you need to pull data from a few systems and manually (in many cases) input the data into the file and check on a few KPIs. However, the opportunity to make any changes usually has to wait until a new planogram is developed during the next planning cycle. In a way, it’s a rather two-dimensional static planning process that repeats itself season after season and year after year.
At Dassault Systèmes, we’ve identified a huge opportunity for CPG brand manufacturers and retailers to utilize virtual technology to drive better, faster and smarter decisions for the real world. Brands and Retailers can move from a static environment to a more dynamic one which can model virtual shelves and stock them with realistic 3D product representations built from 2D pictures. Brands and retailers can use the technology to efficiently design shelf layouts, experience them with the eyes of consumers, and augment shelves with real-time business indicators to make informed decisions. The shopping experience design process can then take place significantly faster, with greater extent and flexibility and at lower cost.
Recently, Dassault Systèmes teamed up with Store Electronic Systems, an innovator in electronic shelf labels, to connect our two technologies to create a seamless end-to-end digital solution which has completely reimagined how technology can accelerate business results at Retail. We call it the ‘Connected Store’.
The concept of a connected retail store was born from the idea that the link between the real retail shelf and the virtual planogram can and should be more connected, productive and actionable. The idea of a connection linking the virtual and physical world has been commonplace in the industrial sector for quite some time, but only recently has been re-imagined for the Retail Industry.
The connected store looks like an immersive 3D virtual environment, incorporating not only the actual dimensions of product and fixtures from the physical world, but fed with real-time store level data to better understand sales, merchandising strategies, out-of-stock levels and compliance.
The connected store is fittingly crafted from two technologies: electronic shelf labels at retail and a 3D virtual merchandising solution online. In a recent live pilot with Intermarché, a French retailer, Store Electronic Systems built geo-referencing indicators into their shelf labels with the precise position of each product memorized. The actual layout of the store shelf was integrated by Atos, an international IT services company, into the 3D Perfect Shelf merchandising solution from Dassault Systémes.
The result is a disruptive innovation which integrates the actual location of each product on the shelf and selling data into a ‘virtual twin’ of the store. The technology can then set up precise merchandising solutions, always in relation to actual store sales. This solution improves the store’s operational performance because retailers need real-time indicators that enable them to react and optimize a department’s item-layout in the way that consumers actually buy.
Imagine planogram updates being sent to stores in real time with aisle clerks able to pull up the instructions on their mobile devices and quickly make changes to optimize sales. Imagine being able to immediately analyze compliance to a particular planogram and instantly inform the store of changes that need to be made. Imagine analyzing a particular productive planogram in a cluster of stores and instructing other like stores to make similar enhancements.
Imagine the shopper being able to easily locate items on their shopping list leveraging a geo-localization function integrated into the retailer’s mobile application.
At Dassault Systèmes and Store Electronic Systems, we see leading brands and retailers collaborating with technology to enrich both the shopping experience and real business results by utilizing 3D virtual store environments and intelligent labels which can reimagine retail.