Consumer-products companies are utilizing new technology to better understand what shoppers really like. For decades, companies have conducted countless shopper focus groups to get feedback from real consumers and adjust the products accordingly with the hope of improving sales.

After a lot of research, they found that consumers are not a very reliable source of information in regards to their own actually preferences. They found out that many focus-group subjects try not to hurt the tester's delicate egos by telling them their product sucks and overestimate their likeliness of buying pre-packaged liver, pickle, and cranberry sandwiches.

Psychology and marketing researchers have found that people often don’t even realize what draws their eyes to certain products or how they actually feel about a product. They also often overestimate the likelihood they are going to buy something while ignoring other similar products or what they can afford. In a survey a lot of people might say a convertible Lamborghini is awesome and they are going to buy one, but how many actually do?

The big corporations of so many familiar consumable products, Proctor & Gamble, Kim-Clark, and Unilever, have been utilizing eye-tracking technology to find out what really grabs shoppers’ attention.

They created a “heat map” by measuring how long and how often test shoppers looked at specific products. Researchers used computer screens rigged with retina-tracking cameras to test new packaging. Where the test subjects looked at a product, the map would be highlighted in green. This would continue on a range from yellow to red on the map the longer they looked at a product.

By measuring how long the shoppers’ looked at different designs, they could determine what caught the shoppers’ attention the best and what the most common viewing starting point would be. One of their goals was to determine which designs grabbed shoppers’ attention within the first 10 seconds of viewing – which is a vital window in the shopping experience.

This technology is helping these companies come up with much better designs for their products as well as the optimum shelf layout and product placement. This would then increase the sales of those products.

So rest assured that next time you pick up that 12 oz. bottle of lemongrass infused extra sensitive acai scented shampoo with quinoa protein, thousands of hours of time, a boat load of money, and the latest technology determined what the bottle looked like and that it was exactly where you would see it best. So basically you had no choice but to buy it.
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Nick Haneiko

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