Disruptive TechOctober 18, 2019

When 3D Eye Tracking Meets the Retail Industry

See Why the Next Industry Disrupter Is 'All in the Eyes'

By KATE BERICOV | CONTRIBUTING WRITER‍

Talking about eye-tracking technology isn’t a newsflash at all nowadays. But watching how it has evolved and been used in the past few years is definitely quite a fast-forward show.

Investors seem to be as interested as ever in the development of this technology. And we heard it straight from the source. Kenneth Funes, CEO at Eyeware, a 3D eye tracking company, told RETHINK Retail that their seed financing gave them the chance to explore improved and new 3D eye tracking applications for daily use.

Not to mention the eye tracking start-ups acquisitions made lately by Facebook and Google. It seems that eye tracking is really the IT thing when we talk about emerging technologies.

 

Looking into the shoppers’ eyes 

So, what exactly is eye tracking and who benefits from it? Quite intuitively, it’s a technological process through which your visual attention is tracked in terms of  location, objects or different stimuli and duration. And, apparently, a lot of industries took to it, like healthcare, advertising, automotive, gaming, advertising or market research.

In this context, it comes as no surprise that eye tracking found its use in the retail industry as well, with plenty of commercial use cases.

Now, wouldn’t it be nice to know that brands and retailers want to get to know you so well, just to make sure they give you exactly what you desire? To create packaging, messages or product displays just the way you like them? To actually get to know what you think about something and your emotions towards it, just by looking into your eyes? Now, that’s real chemistry.

Actually, it’s a 3D eye tracking software like the one developed by Eyeware Tech, named GazeSense, working along with a depth-sensing camera. This software can track things like how long it took you to focus on a specific product, the number of times you looked at it, how long you spent gazing at an item for the first time or how long you spent gazing at an item on average.

Each type of gaze, eye movement or blinking habit says something about your subconscious perception about something. So, this type of data is really quite pure, untouched by any human post-rationalization. It goes back to instincts and unaltered reactions, feedback or wants.

To show this type of information, the eye tracking software can be used to generate heat maps and opacity maps. The warmer or lighter an area is, the more visual attention it received.

 

 

 

3D eye tracking — observing from a distance

One would imagine that getting this kind of deep retail data about a customer would mean invading his private space a bit.

With the help of depth-sensing cameras, that’s not the case. Retailers can track eye attention from afar, while gathering valid and actionable data.

Of course, there are other methods through which retailers and brands have been collecting data about their shoppers. They usually get it through focus groups or eye tracking through special glasses, that have to be worn by the shopper while doing the shopping.

While these have proven to be valid research methods, it takes a little bit from the rawness of the customer’s intention, who knows that he is under some kind of observation. And, without necessarily realising it, this can change his buying behaviour to some degree.

Moreover, glasses operate for 1-by-1 kind of research and invade the privacy of the customer in the process of shopping.

 

 

In this context, 3D eye tracking comes as a more subtle, time-efficient and multiple subjects type of market research.

This technology remotely tracks visual attention from as far as 1.3m (4.3 ft) away, in a non-intrusive way – no glasses, no VR headsets and no calibration. Just the 3D eye tracking software and a depth-sensing camera working to track thousands of customers, following the GDPR anonymous way.

 

 

 

Because in the end, we all want the same thing: shopping done right

This technology comes as a win-win, both for the customer, who can carry his shopping without any interruption or intrusion, and the retailer as well, who can get valuable retail analytics and actionable shopper insights.

Basically, by using 3D eye tracking, retailers can find out what customers are really interested in, understand their in-store behavior and get unbiased shelf attention analytics.

By combining this type of retail analytics with other types of data like demographics or purchase history, retailers can really improve their marketing, sales and merchandising strategy, by implementing tactics like:

  • organizing shelves and displays to meet the shoppers’ expectations
  • making key products more visible
  • configuring better in-store signage
  • designing targeted offers
  • evaluating the impact of packaging designs or different marketing messaging
  • crafting effective ad campaigns

 

 

With all these strategic outcomes, it won’t come as a surprise to keep hearing about 3D eye tracking and its inclusion in the marketing research mix. Retailers have to keep up with the emerging trends and be ever more relevant for their customers. So, human-machine interaction/AI is one of the technologies that will really make a difference in the marketing strategies to come. Apparently, it’s really all in the eyes, even for machines as well.

If you want to discover more about Eyeware’s 3D eye tracking technology, visit https://eyeware.tech/blog/.