July 16th, 2012
The Eyes Have It: Marketers Now Track Shoppers' Retinas
By EMILY GLAZER
Wall Street Journal
Consumer-products companies are turning to new technology to overcome the biggest obstacle to learning what shoppers really think: what the shoppers say.
It turns out consumers aren’t a very reliable source of information about their own preferences. Academic research has shown focus-group subjects try to please their testers and overestimate their interest in products, making it hard to get a read on what works. But getting testing right is crucial for consumer-products companies because they ship high volumes and lack direct contact with shoppers.
To find out what really draws their test shoppers’ attention, companies like Procter & Gamble Co., PG -0.47% Unilever UL +0.42% PLC and Kimberly-Clark Corp. KMB +0.55% are combining three-dimensional computer simulations of product designs and store layouts with eye-tracking technology. And that, in turn, is helping them roll out new products faster and come up with designs and shelf layouts that boost sales.