If you want to create great products, you must add value with benefits that are truly needed. These needs are not only those of your direct customer, but of those all the way down the chain of distribution to the ultimate user.
In the case of our industry, it’s the garden center shopper. If they are satisfied, then retailers, growers and input vendors have all done their jobs.
To hit this mark of value, there is nothing more important than knowledge and understanding what’s meaningful to the gardener from the point of sale through the life of the product and beyond. To this end, many methods of market research can be employed, from focus groups to store intercepts to online surveys. They all have a place in adding to the collective body of information that can lead you to develop the best product possible.
Now, there is another research tool available that can expand our understanding of what actually happens when garden center shoppers encounter a display, brand package, tag or sign on the retail store. That tool is a technology called eye tracking.
Eye tracking is actually more than a century old. But in recent years, significant technological advances have opened up new possibilities for it. Originally confined to a laboratory, today’s eye tracking can be used in homes, schools and businesses, where it aids in research and analysis. Eye tracking results in empirical data on the behavior of individuals when they gaze upon any object.
What Is Eye Tracking?
Eye tracking is the process of capturing the location and movement of the specific point of gaze on any image. It offers insight into the cognitive processes involved in user interaction with computer interfaces, physical products and printed material.
How Does It Work?
Through our experience at MasterTag for improving tags and merchandising products, we work with state-of-the-art eye-tracking equipment and methods. We use special monitors with infrared technology, designed specifically for capturing eye movements. This technology allows participants to be comfortable, as they do not have to wear any devices on their head. Our eye trackers require minimal set-up time and provide high quality data.
Why Use Eye Tracking?
Companies like Google, Amazon, Campbell’s and Proctor & Gamble regularly use eye tracking to improve the experience of their customers or product packaging, respectively.
From our experience, previous consumer research studies have shown the importance of specific information, its method of delivery, the manner in which it is encountered and how it affects the purchase decision. With eye tracking, we are uncovering the consumer’s ability to find and understand information needed to make a buying decision.
We have applied eye tracking to a variety of projects, including plant tags, signage and trade advertising. By using eye-movement measurement to supplement data collected with more traditional market research methods, such as interviews and focus groups, we are able to determine what users find important or interesting and what they tend to ignore. We can assess a user’s decision-making processes, explain inefficient or ineffective performance and identify patterns. We then can evaluate the match between visual designs and our business objectives, as well as those of our customers.
What Are The Takeaways?
A typical eye-tracking report includes a quantitative analysis with charts and data, along with a cognitive analysis of the study. In other words, we can see where an individual is looking at an object, such as a tag or a sign, as well as understand what they were thinking when they looked at it. Here are some examples of eye tracking results:
- Heat maps show the accumulation of how all respondents view tags. The warmer areas show the areas where the majority of consumers fixed their gaze.
- Gaze Plots allow us to view the results of a single respondent. Plots show the sequential progression of their gaze. Larger “balloons” indicates the length of time they fixated on that area. This allows us to improve the information layout to ensure the consumer sees the critical product information.
- Clusters (percentages of gaze) show the significant areas of the image where higher percentages of respondents fixated.
- Area of interest is an analysis tool. We can outline specific areas on an image and gain data on the respondents in those areas.
- When eye tracking is combined with other conventional market research, a clear picture begins to develop as to what actually takes place at the point of sale when garden center shoppers encounter a tag or large format merchandising element.
- Information at the point of sale is an important need of garden center shoppers. Tags and signs are their primary way of acquiring the knowledge needed to make purchases with confidence. By continually investing resources into solid research, we can better ensure the right information and appropriate message is delivered where it is most effective.