GSK opens high-tech consumer behaviour lab


GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK) Consumer Healthcare wants to know what consumers want - why they make the choices they do while shopping and what influences those choices.

To this end, the pharmaceutical giant on Thursday unveiled a Shopper Science Lab, kitted out with technology - hardware and software for eye-tracking, facial biometrics and data visualisation.

With the data on shopper behaviour collected, the company hopes to drive business growth in emerging markets through unique shopper insights and collaborations with retailers.

The facility, located in GSK Asia House in Rochester Park, replicates retail environments and evaluates shoppers' responses to online and in-store promotions, so as to identify the winning strategies that enhance consumers' shopping experience and thus, business growth.

The facility comprises three integrated labs - the Digital Lab, the Retail Lab and a Collaboration Room.

The Digital Lab is a collaborative space where researchers, using eye-tracking technology, test the effectiveness of packaging design, point-of-sale materials, brand assets and content across all platforms.

The Retail Lab offers an immersive retail environment in a 1,215 sq ft re-creation of retail environments such as pharmacies and supermarkets.

Here, real consumers invited to the lab don state-of-the-art glasses that test and evaluate their responses to the recreated store and its products.

The Collaboration Room is a space where key decision-makers are able to experience virtual and fully interactive simulations of stores for more informed decision-making.

Sidharth Singh, vice-president of Commercial Excellence in GSK Consumer Healthcare Asia, Middle East and Africa, said: "Traditional market research is often time-consuming and expensive. By leveraging the latest advances in virtual reality and biometric technology, we are now able to gather insights more efficiently and effectively."

The Shopper Science lab in Singapore, which is in the neighbourhood of the large emerging markets of China and India, will also enable the study of diverse groups of shoppers and comparisons with local data.

The hardware used, such as the eye-tracking glasses, are portable and can be used in other cities in the region to study the shoppers there as well; virtual-reality and tracking technology can also help in the analysis of data from these markets.

Mr Singh said: "As a centre of excellence for shopper insights, we look forward to collaborating closely with our retail partners to deliver insight-driven category plans and winning executions that are unique to the needs of today's shoppers."