3D technology provider ConceptSauce leverages cloud-based interactive applications for virtual shopping, 3D animations, concept visualisation and, most importantly for this audience, real-time online tools for package development and consumer research for retail markets. Abs Chamali, CEO of ConceptSauce, responds to our questions.
What is your technology and what does it do?
Chamali: ConceptSauce’s technology offering is a cloud-based platform for 3D graphics creation. Our solutions do not require any plugins (such as Flash) to run, allowing them to be used across multiple platforms. The technology enables rapid testing and visualisation of concepts in a 3D shopping environment, and allows clients to add videos and create concept Heatmaps as part of the 3D shopping journey.
On top of this, ConceptSauce also creates custom 3D animations for use in a 3D shopping environment as well as externally.
Our goal is to supply clients with all of their 3D graphics needs, from interactive virtual apps to 3D animated video and static visualisations.
How can it help in packaging and packaging development?
Chamali: Our solutions allow clients to visualise packaging design concepts in a store environment. The process of uploading concepts to the 3D store environment is very quick and intuitive, making it ideal for use in iterative design development. It is also possible to insert the store scenarios into online survey platforms, for use in consumer research, with very rapid results.
Multiple scenarios can be setup in seconds, allowing more than one pack design or shelf layout to be tested. This also allows for pack design testing across retail environment options in multiple markets.
We also offer a Heatmap solution. Embedded in surveys for consumer testing, Heatmaps allow consumers to indicate the areas of the pack design that they like and dislike. They can also comment on aspects of the concept, to help designers to discover the ‘why’ behind successful aspects of a particular design. These Heatmaps and annotations can also work effectively internally, when used as part of a company-wide collaboration in the design process, enabling all stakeholders to feed in to the ultimate design concept.
What makes it unique or better than alternatives?
Chamali: The cloud-based interactive solutions offered by ConceptSauce do not use any plugins and are usable across different platforms and in different markets. A key feature of our solutions is the quick set up time of each solution. Our 2.5D and 3D shopping scenarios and virtual shopping environments take just minutes to setup, and we offer a 1-2 day turnaround.
The 3D virtual shopping environments also offer brands an agile and very cost effective solution, especially when used as an alternative to merchandising trials or central location tests.
Another unique feature is that clients can setup multiple scenarios with one click and add a countdown timer. That way scenario tasks can be timed and configured to ask respondents to locate products fitting certain criteria, for example, healthy products or products that stand out the most.
What are the steps involved?
Chamali: Each project type and process is fully documented for our clients’ use. We take each new client step-by-step through the initial setup. For 2D pack concepts, clients simply upload the visuals of their concepts using our Asset Manager tool. We then use the client’s concepts to create a 3D shopping environment in a few clicks. The whole process takes a few minutes.
What should users know about the requirements to use ConceptSauce?
Chamali: Turnaround times are specified in our online client Knowledge Space (online Wiki). In terms of pricing, we offer a three-tier solution: Pay and Go, Subscription Normal and Subscription Advanced. Our subscription plans offer real cost savings to clients needing to implement multiple projects, whilst our Pay and Go plan is a cost-effective solution for ad-hoc needs.
Next are case study examples for major brands...
Browser-based 3D virtual shopping permits conceptual packaging to be placed into an interactive retail environment.
Do you have any case study examples of customers using it for packaging?
Chamali: We have completed a wide variety of projects for major brands. Here are a few short examples to illustrate how the tool is used for packaging research and indeed packaging proofing. Due to client confidentiality issues, the case studies are anonymous:
Australian grocery retailer study: The retailer created a number of pack concept routes for a particular category and wanted to test which was best for consumers. For the project we created 3D Animations to virtually ‘walk’ 1500 research respondents through a virtual store. At the end of their virtual journey they were presented with our Liveplano interactive 3D shelf tool, displaying the product category in question. Respondents were able to use the tool to pick up and rotate products, read the packaging, etc. Their behaviour at shelf was recorded using our platform, which had been embedded in a wider online survey. Our platform passed the respondent’s behavioural data through to the online survey provider using our Application Program Interface (API).
Our client, a market research agency, used the data generated by our interactive shelf tool to build a picture of consumers’ behaviour. As a result, they were able to make recommendations regarding the most effective concepts for use in the category to the retailer.
Toilet Care Case Study: Our market research client needed 3D visuals of toilet care accessories to use in a conjoint study. Provided as sketches, we converted the initial concepts to life-like 3D visuals that were positioned inside a virtual toilet bowl. We also created virtual benchmark products (competitor brands) in a number of different colours and designs.
The study enabled the agency to recommend the best aesthetics (in terms of customer preference) to their Fast-Moving Consumer Goods client and the manufacturer used the recommendations to create their new product range.
3D Interactive Dairy Category: We created an interactive 3D planogram of the yogurt category for one of our main research clients using new product concepts. Also, competitor products were bought and photographed to be placed in the 3D virtual environment so that survey respondents could select from within a full category range. Conceptsauce also took the pack concepts and produced full 3D products, to allow respondents to examine the products closely by zooming and rotating each concept.
How does it compare with another technology we reported on in this area (see Augmented reality offers real-world value)?
Chamali: Our tools are cloud-based and provide a more cost-effective solution. What we offer allows clients to:
- Upload concepts to our platform
- Adjust virtual shelf layouts very easily
- Rapidly test concepts on a 3D shelf
- Reuse 3D pack visuals that we create or 3D shelf planograms in a market research study.
- Agile development of tools and rapid deployment of customised apps as per clients’ needs.
- Extendable platform, allowing the use of Video, Heatmaps, ratings, 3D and 2D virtual tools.
When used in a survey environment, our platform allows full API access to all the apps, such as the 3D Liveplano shelf solution, which offers full data recording so that the behaviour of respondents is monitored and recorded. We record actions such as hover over, pick up pack, rotated pack, bought pack and removed from basket. We also record how long each action takes to complete.
Abs Chamali, CEO of ConceptSauce.
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