The state-of-the-art eye-tracking technology is ever more present in talks about future industrial and consumer applications, tacking human-machine interaction to the next level. Giants like Google and Facebook acknowledged its potential and bought eye-tracking start-ups to advance the eye-interaction technology.
At Eyeware Tech, we have also felt the investors’ interest in our technology, during this year’s venture funding for 3D eye-tracking technology.
One of the fields where eye-tracking is on the rise and making a huge difference is the Retail industry, with application in market research. It’s a new way of collecting objective and actionable data about the customer’s attention. Retailers want to make their stores and products as appealing and as accessible as possible. They want to catch the shopper’s attention as fast as possible, but not in an intrusive or artificial manner. So 3D eye-tracking helps them do just that: gain important insights about the shoppers in order to improve products and services for them.
What Is 3D Eye-Tracking?
The introduction of 3D eye-tracking software, or using consumer depth-sensing cameras to track the eye-gaze, opens up exciting new applications for human-machine interactions in the retail environment. As opposed to standard eye tracking, 3D eye-tracking technology remotely tracks visual attention from as far as 1.3m (4.3 ft) away, in a non-intrusive way.
This means no glasses. No VR headsets. And no calibration. All you need is a depth-sensing camera and you can track thousands of customers in a GDPR-friendly anonymous way. Using off the shelf depth-sensing cameras, it allows you to track multiple subjects, label objects of interest in the open space and track attention towards them in real-time.
By monitoring the attention of the customer, retailers can then analyze product performance, without any worries about being biased. In contrast with focus groups or retail eye-tracking using glasses (where the subject knows he is under observation), 3D eye-tracking gives the raw attention tracking that you need, driven by subconscious rather than rationalized intention.
This is why attention tracking helps companies with valuable data. 3D eye-tracking can provide shelf-attention analytics that identifies the number of views and focal points, without the need for calibration. Market Research companies can then use those gained insights to recommend new sales approach and shopper strategies to their clients’ activating in retail.
How to Use 3D Eye-Tracking for Retail Analytics?
We’ve all heard about Big Data and we hear it more and more in the retail environment. So, why should you collect Big Data for retail purposes? Because it means a greater understanding of your consumer’s shopping habits and it helps you attract new customers.
A few Big Data examples are Purchase History, Customer Demographics, Product Preferences, Consumer Journey or Engagement Patterns.
To get this type of data, most retailers use analytics obtained from their point of Sale systems or foot traffic analytics devices (people counters or beacons) – while those are helpful tools that enable you to make data-based decisions, they can only go so far in painting an insightful picture into what customers want to buy.
What Type of Retail Data You Can Collect with 3D Eye-Tracking?
3D eye-tracking is a more progressive way to conduct both consumer and in-store research and to find out:
What Catches the Shoppers’ Attention
Visual attention is the most at hand data you can get through 3D eye-tracking. In the context of retail research, visual attention reveals what customers are naturally interested in. Eye-tracking shows how long it took the customer to focus on a specific product, the number of times they looked at it and how long they spent gazing at an item for the first time and on average. Usually, the items they gaze at the longest and most often are the ones they buy.
What Is the Shopper’s Perception and Intention About the Product?
With eye-tracking you can also analyze the flow of interest, perception, and intention: once a product catches a shopper’s interest, they will proceed to view it in a certain way. From that point, their perception can determine whether they intend to buy it or not. For example, let’s say you’re running an in-store promotion. Eye-tracking studies show that shoppers are more likely to perceive it as a better value if the initial price appears too. To make the buying decision with ease, they need visual clues along the way. Through 3D eye tracking, you will be able to track the visual attention in this process and see what better visual tactics and clues positioning work better for your products.
Simultaneously, how the store presents that product influences how the customer perceives it. For example, you can evaluate the impact of different packaging designs or marketing messaging and see which one scores better.
Taking Action After Collecting Insights with 3D Eye-Tracking
After gathering this data, there are numerous ways through which you can improve your retail strategy. By implementing consumer insight and retail store analytics from eye tracking, you can:
– Organize shelves and displays strategically – because now you know what specific elements in the display grabbed their attention, what part of the shelves they scanned first and how eye-catching certain products are. You know what areas are well suited for sales and promotion and what areas should be kept for awareness campaigns
– Develop attractive ad campaigns and insightful packaging – because now you know what types of signage, colors and shapes attracted your customer
– Optimize marketing messages – because now you know which phrases and words attracted their attention and scored better at sight retention
– Improve the layout of your store and make it easier to navigate – by having clarity on points of confusion, attention hotspots, and distractions
– Improve the signage of your store – eye tracking heat maps also provide store design insights. You understand where to position banners, signs and product displays for the best shopper visibility.
– Create a tailored in-store experience – having all this data you can combine the best place, the best products, and the best signage to create an appealing in-store hotspot or engagement area
Combining this type of shopper insight with other data like demographics or customer purchase history, 3D eye-tracking can generate valuable predictive analytics that can significantly improve your Marketing, Sales, and Merchandising decisions.
It seems that 3D eye-tracking is a win-win for customers and retailers alike. Retailers obtain the much-needed data about the shopper, with the much-needed privacy that the latter needs.
So, it is safe to say that eye tracking is here to stay, transforming the retail industry into a more technological one, thus, a more precise one, leaving aside any not so professional guesswork. And in this technology and AI-driven retail climate, there is no going back: it is up to retailers to keep up with the new emerging trends, evolve, remain competitive on the market and relevant to their customers.