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Virtual Reality with Eye Tracking: Step into the Future

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Shopping can be overwhelming. There’s about 60,000 products in the average grocery store and reading the front of every label would take about 16 days. Consumers only end up looking at 10 words during a shopping trip and 3 package design elements on a pack. So how can companies measure consumers’ behaviors during shopping trips?

Anne Stephenson, Partner at Explorer Research explained at the Shopper Insights & Retail Activation conference that virtual reality with eye tracking is a valuable way to measure shoppers’ behaviors. Explorer Research has a state-of-the-art shopper lab located in Chicago where consumers wear a virtual reality headset with eye tracking capabilities and a green screen is used to see customers’ shopping behaviors in context.

Hershey’s: A Virtual Reality Case Study

Explorer Research partnered with Hershey’s to investigate the optimal aisle layout across key design elements. They tested multiple planogram layouts and measured different aisle anchors, the flow of aisles, and planogram sizes. These tests allowed Explorer Research to identify the best aisle configurations for Hershey’s products based on key metrics such as stopping power, closing power, dwell time, find time, and purchase volume.


Based on these insights, Hershey’s was able to make recommendations to stores on:

  • Aisle flow
  • Anchoring
  • Section size optimization
  • What categories to keep in the section
  • Category drivers
  • Placement of existing categories, and
  • Placement of emerging categories

These data derived from virtual reality eye tracking gave Hershey’s useful recommendations that were implemented in a test market and ultimately led to a strong initial lift in sales.

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