What’s the first thing shoppers notice when looking at a new display or aisle?
It’s a question that regularly comes up within the retail and CPG industries. When developing new in-store concepts, it's crucial to know what aspects will grab the attention of shoppers, as well as which important aspects might be overlooked. Catching the shopper's eye on the path to purchase is one of the most important attributes facing today’s brands and retailers, and while traditional eye tracking research has helped companies tackle that answer, it can be a costly and time-consuming process that involves fielding new studies and waiting months for analyzed results. Many companies don't have that kind of time, or don't have the budgets set aside for conducting research studies related to eye tracking. That process can take months and requires the cost of finding respondents, conducting a new study, and deciphering the results. Because of this, InContext offers Visual Attention Analysis (VAA) as part of our DIY Shopper Intelligence solutions, included for all ShopperMX™ core users.
VAA is an alternative to traditional eye tracking methods, and predicts what shoppers' eyes will automatically be drawn to in the store. It provides an instant read on where shoppers will look within a store environment. As it doesn’t require additional respondents, it can be applied to any image in a matter of minutes—which also means it can be conducted at a fraction of the cost of fielding a new study with new respondents.
How does VAA work?
VAA uses a module to predict what shoppers' eyes will automatically be drawn to in a given environment. This model—constructed by 3M™ and based on decades of science and research into the human visual system—has been shown to predict what people will look at with over 90% of the accuracy that traditional eye tracking research achieves. This model does not require new respondents to evaluate the scene, but instead uses an algorithm based on historical data on what people looked at across thousands of images.
How does VAA help manufacturers and retailers make better decisions?
Knowing where shoppers' eyes go in the initial seconds of looking at a scene is an invaluable tool for retailers and manufacturers. VAA is a cost-effective way to virtually test new concepts before they're in store to ensure they will catch shoppers' attention. Because traditional eye tracking gives you individual respondent data, you can see how noticeability impacts product purchase after seeing something in a store. But it comes with substantially higher costs and significantly higher time frames to get that data. With VAA, you can predict how a new concept will capture – or fail to capture – the attention of customers. As retailers and CPG professionals continue to develop new ideas and concepts, VAA can be utilized with quick assessments of how effective the proposed change will be in a real store, in a matter of days.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in June 2014 and has been updated for freshness and to reflect our latest solutions.