The Eyes Have It... From The Customer's Point Of View

According to Kirk Hendrickson, CEO of Eye Faster*, most consumers cannot readily explain why they sample a new product or regularly purchase one particular brand, but the truth can be discovered in their eyes. From numerous eye-tracking studies surprising insights emerge into why customers buy some products while walking right past others, says the report. Consider the following factors revealed by eye-tracking data:

Deliver Your Message In One Second, Or Lose

  • The human eye constantly scans the scene, moving abruptly in “saccades” lasting 20 to 40 microseconds, with in between “fixations,” (still periods) of only 100 to 400 microseconds. Since the brain processes visual information after the eyes fixate for 200 microseconds, over a half-hour shopping trip, says the report, a customer’s eyes fixate 1,800 times. That provides marketing messages between 200 microseconds and one second to communicate. Make It fast!

Location, Location, Location

  • The eyes focus on a small window, so everything in one’s peripheral vision is a blur. As a result, products that are near eye level are much more likely to be seen than those placed on high or low shelves. The ideal product placement, concludes the study, is from 30 degrees below eye level to 10 degrees above.

People Read Labels Like Books

  • Being used to reading left to right and up to down, message that are not displayed in that order feel confusing and off-putting. Consumers have trouble with vertical lettering and text in unusual places. The rule of design says don’t get so fancy with the design that the message disappears.

Some Products Just Get More Consideration

  • Shoppers spend a long time choosing packaged salads. In one study, people picked up and considered three bags for every one bag purchased. But the salad dressing hardly merits any consideration at all. In a different study, the average shopper spent 62 seconds looking at salad dressing and only noticed 7% of the available products.

Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Competition

  • When shoppers look for known brands, you’re more likely to catch their eye if your product looks similar to the categories’ leading brand, than if it looks completely different. If it doesn’t match the category look and feel, it’s unlikely to register as an option. But if shoppers think your product is the brand they’re looking for, they’re much more likely to consider switching.

Positive Feelings Beat Reason Every Time

  • Your brand may be of higher quality or be less expensive than the competition, but if it doesn’t give consumers a happy feeling, they won’t buy it. Since the majority of purchase decisions are made on the subconscious level where feelings rule, emotional factors like shape, color, and the memories a package provokes are of the utmost importance.

*Kirk Hendrickson, CEO of Eye Faster, a leading provider of shopper research, developed his expertise in eye tracking and shopper research while leading worldwide field operations for EmSense Corporation and product management for MarketTools, Inc.



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