New Innovation Design Center Helps K-C and Retailers Explore Store Design,
Merchandising and Product Concepts Based on Consumer Insights
NEENAH, Wis., Oct. 3 /CNW/ -- Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE: KMB)
today announced the opening of its new Innovation Design Studio, incorporating
use of a proprietary virtual reality system to help identify innovations, gain
key insights and strengthen customer relationships. Located in Neenah, Wis.,
the facility represents a powerful addition to K-C's product, marketing
research and customer development toolkits -- further advancing those
capabilities that touch customers, shoppers and users.
At the core of the Innovation Design Studio is a state-of-the-art
visualization room with advanced virtual reality technologies and equipment,
including a high-tech kiosk called the K-C SmartStation that simulates a
person's shopping experience. Together, these help K-C research new product
innovations and store concepts from idea, through concept testing to actual
execution without the time and cost of physically constructing mock-ups.
"We are one of only a few companies in the world to have an innovation
design studio with an integrated virtual reality system, and we believe ours
may well be the most technologically advanced system anywhere," said Ramin
Eivaz, Vice President of North Atlantic Insight, Strategy and Growth for K-C,
who led the development of the Innovation Design Studio. "By engaging
ourselves and our customers in this virtual world, we can spark better ideas
to improve the shopping experience and collaborate on new product concepts and
Becoming an Indispensable Business Partner
Through using the virtual reality system and the K-C SmartStation, the
company can create real store settings, down to retailer-specific color
palettes, graphics and layouts. These 3-D, interactive store models allow K-C
and its customers to explore hypothetical in-store design and merchandising
concepts without having to move a single package of product, enabling K-C and
the customer to test the impact of these concepts prior to launching them.
Additionally, the K-C SmartStation allows consumers to walk the aisles of
the virtual stores, shop the store via a touch screen panel and react to
virtual displays and in-store promotions. Through the use of sophisticated
eye-tracking technology, the high-tech kiosk enables K-C to study consumers'
engagement and reaction by tracking their eye movements and physical motions
in a 3-D simulated shopping setting to determine how different shopping
environments may influence their purchasing decisions.
"The K-C SmartStation allows us to see what catches the consumer's
attention, helping us identify which aisle formats, shelf arrangements or
in-store promotions are most effective at driving purchases," said Eivaz. "We
and our customers can then transform these insights into real-world solutions
to increase sales opportunities and shopper loyalty."
According to Don Quigley, President of Consumer Sales and Customer
Development for K-C, the new studio and virtual reality system is a hit with
many of the company's retail customers. "Those customers who have already
experienced our virtual reality system immediately recognized its power to
capture the essence of their stores and its unique ability to bring to life
insights into consumer shopping behavior," said Quigley.
As an example of the effectiveness of the Innovation Design Studio and
K-C SmartStation, K-C worked with Safeway to help the company create a new
format for the supermarket's baby care aisle that encourages moms to spend
more time shopping in this section. Safeway applied the shopper insights
gained from the K-C virtual store environment to reformat actual baby aisles
in three test stores. Over an 8-week period, the test stores experienced
increased category sales for all disposable diapers, disposable training
pants, baby wipes and toiletries. Safeway plans to leverage the learnings and
benefits of the new aisle format in additional stores in the future.
Leveraging Proprietary Technologies to Gain Valuable Insights
Whether partnering with retail customers, or conducting its own research,
K-C can also use the system to design alternative packaging, show how they
appear on the shelf and compare their visual impact. Additionally, K-C can
use the system to receive immediate consumer feedback on new product and
packaging ideas -- making product launches an expression of consumers' wants
and needs, while helping K-C maximize its return on new product initiatives.
"To open up new paths of growth, both marketers and retailers need to
create innovative, differentiated solutions that address unmet consumer
needs," said Quigley. "K-C's ability to collaborate with our customers in
virtual environments will help elevate the way we design and deliver the right
solutions for shoppers and users of our products."
Kimberly-Clark and its well-known global brands are an indispensable part
of life for people in more than 150 countries. Every day, 1.3 billion
people-nearly a quarter of the world's population-trust K-C brands and the
solutions they provide to enhance their health, hygiene and well-being. With
brands such as Kleenex, Scott, Huggies, Pull-Ups, Kotex and Depend,
Kimberly-Clark holds the No. 1 or No. 2 share position in more than 80
countries. To keep up with the latest K-C news and to learn more about the
company's 135-year history of innovation, visit http://www.kimberly-clark.com.
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