Eye tracking reduces cost of consumer product testing
Product packaging design plays a significant role in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Consumers go for the products that stand out among the rest, and in many cases the features that appeal to them are not as obvious as it may seem. In the past, product manufacturers conducted consumer behavior research with focus groups, but found shoppers often exaggerate their interest and exhibit bias in their responses. It has been discovered more recently that customers actually have subconscious reactions to packaging, which has become apparent through research using eye tracking and other biometrics.
Eye tracking can be used in virtual shopping environments to monitor consumers’ eye movements as they glance over products on a simulated store shelf. Some biometrics like EEG brain waves and galvanic skin response readings are also used to gauge involuntary emotional responses to package design and features. The simulated shopping experience enables marketers to test different package designs and shelf placements on the fly to get feedback on what appeals to shoppers and what gets overlooked.
Despite the high cost of the eye tracking equipment, which can range from $10,000 to $40,000 per unit, these simulated testing scenarios are saving companies money in the long run. Procter and Gamble (P&G), for example, typically spends over $1,500 on a single physical prototype. With the ability to test simulated products, P&G is able to save money on expensive design revisions. Also, by testing packaging before products are put on the store shelf, they are able to optimize the design to achieve higher sales.
As of now, P&G uses simulation and digital modeling for 80% of its new products. If the consumer product goliaths are switching over to this simulated prototype model, I am sure many more will follow. At some point in the near future, every product that makes it into our homes will be optimally designed and packaged to appeal directly to us as a result of advances in eye tracking and biometric technology.
For more information on this topic, check out Marketers Now Track Shoppers’ Retinas
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