A newcomer’s perspective — eye tracking for packaging research

  • by Tobii
  • 5 min

Woman looking at packaging in a store

We spoke with Nicole Fink of King’s Hawaiian about their first eye tracking study on consumer attention to new and existing package designs.

Running your first eye tracking research study is an exciting research milestone, but there are a lot of important factors to consider. Am I designing the study correctly? How do I get the best possible data? Which methods of analysis are well-suited to answer my particular research questions? As a way of exploring the eye tracking experience from a newcomer’s perspective, we spoke with Nicole Fink of King’s Hawaiian in Los Angeles, CA. King’s Hawaiian was interested in understanding visibility and attention for new and existing package designs and Nicole’s team decided that this was a great opportunity to incorporate eye tracking into their work for the first time. Let’s check in and see how it went!

How did you decide you wanted to use eye tracking in your research?

When I came to King’s Hawaiian and they were talking about exploring different packaging options for their existing products, I thought this was a great opportunity to bring Tobii into the organization. One of the priorities was findability. So as someone is walking up to our shelf, does changing the packaging — different colors, different call-outs — enable them to find the package faster? The other thing we were interested in was noticeability on the shelf. Does having the different coloring and callouts allow people to notice these products if they don’t even recognize the King’s Hawaiian name? Introducing eye tracking to answer these questions was important.

A woman wearing Tobii Pro Glasses 2 looks at a shelf with products.

Tell me about your experience using Tobii Pro Glasses in your recent study

I was a little nervous because it was my first time using Tobii Pro Glasses, and we were testing in-store. I first practiced in the office with my colleagues to make sure I felt comfortable with the technology. The other thing that I was worried about was the WiFi capabilities. I didn’t know how strong it was going to be, and I didn’t know if we would have any difficulties connecting. The Tobii support team did an excellent job of giving me backup and options in case anything happened. The in-store execution went smoothly, and we didn’t have any hiccups. There was only one participant that we had trouble calibrating, but once we changed nose pieces, we were able to track them well.

What was the feedback you got from the team after the study and how will the insights be used?

When I presented the information, everyone was receptive to all the insights gathered. What was great about this research is that it not only helped us answer the questions that we had, it helped us to uncover some problems that we didn’t even know existed. In terms of the results, we found that consumers noticed the new package more than the current package, so they decided to move forward with the new design. I think that in the future we’re going to use this as a standard methodology for anything new, whether it’s a brand-new product or new packaging.

A woman wearing Tobii Pro Glasses 2 navigates in the shop while a test leader observes it through a Live View function in the Tobii Pro Analyzer software.

Did anything surprise you about using eye tracking technology?

For analysis, I expected to be watching each video and sort of gauging and taking notes. That seemed like it would be a significant amount of time to go through all that video. But what I was surprised about is that you take an image of the package, and you plot the data and then you’re able to really see where people are paying the most attention through heat maps. Also being able to get things like Time to First Fixation as an aggregate number – I thought that was cool, and I had no expectation that this technology would be able to provide that level of detail.

What is the biggest benefit of being able to see through the eyes of your customers?

What I appreciated during the research – and it was actually a tip provided by Tobii Insight – when each of the consumers were done going through the exercise, we came back to the table, and I showed them the video. Being able to ask them questions like “it seems like you fixated on this shelf – why did that catch your attention?” It was cool because usually you don’t know what’s going through their mind, but to show them that video and then ask them questions makes a big difference. [Comment of the editor: the method used here is called Retrospective-think-aloud interview ].

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