Keeping up with technology is an important job for a research agency. We get excited by any tools and techniques emerge that can help us in our mission – to get closer to consumers. However, an important consideration is to evaluate which are fads and which are keepers, embracing what is useful only.
Clients often ask us how technology can help them, so here’s a quick bluffer’s guide for three methods you may not have used before – what they are, how they can be used and where we think they add value.
PART 1: Eyetracking
What is it?
A biometric technology that allows us to see exactly what respondents are looking at. Respondents wear a pair of eyetracking glasses which record both what they are looking at and the movements of their pupils. They then go about their task (in store shopping, using a website etc) as normal. The recording provides evidence for what they did – for example what they noticed in what order – rather than their memory of the event.
What have Brass used it for?
We tend to use it for in-store retail work. For example, how people “shop” a particular category and, testing the impact of POS materials. This helps us understand decision-making hierarchies and how people navigate when they shop – is it by brand, colour, price etc?
What are the practicalities?
One of the main advantages is that you can watch a live feed of the respondent experience.
Equipment lead times and hire costs are not prohibitive. It can be used in the lab or in situ – it is easy to transport and there are no data capture challenges. From a respondent point of view, glasses are quick and easy to calibrate, and most respondents forget they are wearing them after 5 minutes. Our main task as moderators is ensuring we’ve got a relaxed respondent who is happy to taking part in a natural shopping mission.
Does it get you closer to the truth?
Yes. Played back to respondents, the video is useful in getting them to witness and react to their behaviour. This can squeeze more from a standard accompanied shop. Respondents are often fascinated by it too. Commonly footage allows us to see things respondents may not necessarily remember looking at – great for understanding what impacts decision-making.
Why should I bother?
It really helps communicate research findings. For clients, eyetracking footage can be the highlight of a debrief: real consumers reacting to a store environment. It really helps to ground clients in the retail context – they immediately empathise with the consumer in store, amongst surrounded by ‘noise’.
It is objective – you have video evidence for what people notice, in what order, which can be taken directly to client design teams to facilitate change.
The Brass verdict?
It’s easy to use, the outputs are intuitive and inspire change. It’s a key part of our retail research toolkit.
Picture: A mop and bucket blocking the promotion on a gondola end