Simulacra leverages synthetic data to amplify research, find shopper insights faster and for less than a new study

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags AI consumer research Innovation

High-quality consumer data is essential to successfully innovating and marketing new CPG products – but it is also expensive and difficult to obtain via traditional research methods, and it can take so long to gather and analyze that it could be out of date before it can be applied.

But what if there was a way to do more with less – and do it more quickly?

According to startup Simulacra SDS, there is thanks to its recently launched easy-to-use AI platform that quickly generates predictive, high-quality synthetic data from prior consumer behavioral research and offers dozens of tools to simulate shifts in demographics and consumer behavior.

Available for monthly and annual subscriptions at a fraction of the price of traditional consumer research, Simulacra CEO Jason Cohen and CMO Gerry Schweitzer explain that their intuitive, self-serve platform can make anyone a “data investigator” who can uncover the “hindsight, insight and foresight” necessary for successful product development and marketing.

Generative AI-enhanced synthetic data amplifies, extends consumer research

The intent of Simulacra is to help CPG companies leverage existing data and consumer research by integrating new information or outside knowledge, such as point of sales data, credit card swipe data or changes in economic development data, to generate a new data set from which companies can draw direct inferences, Cohen said.

He explained Simulacra is possible because synthetic data has come a long way, thanks to generative AI, and now is just as trustworthy as “real data” and at times more accurate than weighted data.

“With the new abilities of large-scale generative AI, it is actually now possible to generate data that is indiscernible from real data. The data is of equivalent quality from the data that its trained on,” and unlike weighted data it doesn’t magnify bias, he explained.

“Our platform is able to take a piece of their data and amplify it, synthesize the populations of the data, so that they can drill down and look into even small, fragmented cohorts,” added Schweitzer. For example, he said, if a company “had only 10 people of a certain ilk, in prior research, or 20, not enough to make even a directional inference, we can now ... amplify that into several 100 people if we want or even more, and now they can really see the motivations behind those people. So, they can generate insights … and find out what's really making people tick.”

In addition to enhancing consumer behavior research, the platform can help CPG companies accelerate purchase intent studies, optimize retail placement with shopping cart data, simulate the future the company wants and help drive continuous improvement and innovation. And in doing so, the platform helps companies answer another prevalent research question, which is what to do with the data once they have it.

[Editor’s note: Watch the accompanying video to see the platform in action, including different tools for analyzing data and uncovering potential commercial insights.]

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