3M Opens State-of-the-Art Retail Lab at its Maplewood Headquarters
Photo by : Katherine Welles (Shutterstock)

3M Opens State-of-the-Art Retail Lab at its Maplewood Headquarters

How to makes sense of today’s consumer habits? Study them, scientifically. That’s the goal of 3M’s Multimillion-Dollar Consumer Data Science and Merchandising Lab.

Seismic shifts in shopping habits have retailers, commercial developers, and consumer brands scratching their heads. 3M is getting scientific about understanding shoppers. The company’s new Consumer Data Science and Merchandising Laboratory, which opened yesterday at its global headquarters in Maplewood, aims to develop data-driven approaches to solve the everyday challenges of 3M’s retail customers.

Conceived by the Consumer Business Group division of 3M, the multimillion-dollar, 24,592-square-foot, state-of-the-art lab allows scientists, statisticians, mathematicians, and more to integrate retail analytics, data science, marketing, and merchandising all under one roof. The shared space facilitates easier collaboration.

“Collaboration is a key part of our brand,” says Paul Keel, senior vice president of 3M Business Development and Marketing-Sales. “We believe the Data Science and Merchandising Lab will drive even stronger partnerships with retailers as we learn and innovate together.”

The lab is split into three distinct yet complementary departments: Data Science and Analytics, Visualization, and Retail.

In the Data Science Lab, 3M will work to develop proprietary machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms, which will in turn be used to optimize how 3M gets to market. The Visualization Lab is a synergistic space for exploring the analytics that come out of the Data Science Lab. The Retail Lab evaluates and tests packaging and merchandising in a modifiable simulated store environment.

3M believes the lab as a whole will be useful in almost every aspect of the business process, from making sure that the right products in the right packages make it to the right locations, to saving customers’ time and effort, to making sure that shelves everywhere remain stocked with 3M products.

3M, recognized earlier this week by Ethisphere Institute as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the sixth year in a row, is a $33 billion developer, manufacturer, and marketer of home and business products.