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Shelf Placement


"Eye tracking opens up the “black-box” in the middle of the sales cycle, providing detailed objective data about consumers’ actual purchasing behavior and decision-making patterns. For example, promotion managers can carry out varied and subtle planning of planograms when arranging retail sales space.”

Richard May, JMR Director

Package design & shelf placement - Leading Eye Tracking Technology

The study
40 Japanese regular beer drinkers, gender and age group balanced, were recruited based on their beer brand loyalty (classified as high, medium and low) and actual buying habits. 

In an initial test, individual package designs for three different beers (the soon to be introduced Ginger Draft Green and White, and a third already on the market: Kirin Zero) were placed in the center of three otherwise identical coolers.

Life size projections of the three coolers were shown to all respondents for 15 seconds each and in randomized order.   

Respondents were instructed to“look for an item you intend to buy”and being eye tracked while doing so. The projections were followed by debriefings, based on traditional questionnaires. Respondents answered questions such as: Which products do you recall well?  Why? Which stood out the most? Why?

In a second test, respondents were shown close-up images of different beers. The beers were seen in isolation outside the shelf context and in randomized

The result
The initial test confirmed the assumption of the existence of a“golden zone” in the middle of the beer cooler, getting the most overall gaze attention (the same region where the products were placed). The Ginger Draft Green and White products attracted more attention than the Kirin Zero product. This suggests that newness of the Ginger Draft products grabs attention.

The Ginger Draft Green package was more successful than Ginger Draft White in terms of gaze duration (fixation length) and    quickness of location (time to first fixation) within the initial 5 seconds window.

Overall, women engaged more in “visual searching” than did men; i.e., their gaze  covered a wider area of the cooler case, with more fixations for longer times.

As expected by the maker’s product taste and image planner, the the Ginger Draft products got better results within the intended group, 20’s and 30’s generation respondents.

Consumers sought out, and generally did find their stated favourite brand, within the first 5 seconds of seeing the cooler case.

The second package appraisal test showed that large logos got lots of gaze attention. Brands where logos were frequently looked at also succeeded in getting buyers to see the makers’ text messages.

Specifically well performing package elements, frequently seen and gaining long gaze times, were the beer foam and wave motif on the Clear Asahi product and the “Rich Malt” message on the Kin-Mugi product.

Men showed a strong tendency to look at the logo and message.  Females tracked along a vertical line; for the Mugi-to-Hop beer they seemed to be conforming the product name.

General conclusions
It takes only a few seconds to be seen and for consumers to make a decision. The eye tracking tests showed just how brief the scan time is across the entire scene. 
Maximum time spent looking at any of the many products shown in the cooler was 0.53 seconds. Even 0.30 seconds of visual dwell time on a package was enough for consumers to fnd their product.

Differences were found among males and females. Females used a wider visual search range, while males were more heavy-handed, focusing in fewer spots for longer times. Also, between medium and low loyalty beer buyers, differences were found in viewing patterns, visual dwell times, etc. The makers’ channel marketing staff successfully incorporated findings from the study into the retail level roll out promotions.

Learn more about eye tracking here
Send an inquiry to JMR about eye tracking studies here
Visit Tobii Technology the leading maker of eye tracking hardware here
Download a printable copy of .pdf file about this study here and click here(Jpn) for the Japanese version of this article.

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