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How Understanding The Eye Matters for Point of Sale

Posted: 25 July 2017

If you were to think back to your last shopping trip, it would be difficult to pinpoint how your eyes were able to persuade or deter you from different products. You may feel like you’re in total control of your purchasing impulses, but the reality is that your eyes will usually go where your subconscious leads them, and your brain will trust your eyes.

This knowledge begs several questions for retailers. You can’t help but wonder how important the display structure can be for conversion. Can an average product be successful if its placement increases customer engagement? How much can a failing product blame its poor performance on poor customer engagement instead of simply being a poor product?

It’s more than luck

Many retail and product businesses have had some kind of experience in which they created or innovated something they thought was bound for greatness, yet amounted to a penniless venture. Was it priced too high? Did they overestimate demand? How is it possible that this promising product failed?

The answer, of course, may be in front of you. Literally, right in front of you, if only your eyes could see it.

Eye-tracking as a science has contributed a great deal to modern marketing techniques, especially in a retail setting. It’s easy to notice in many stores that there are areas where people naturally gather and spend some time in an idle state, and you will also notice that stores know to take advantage of that idle time by placing products where studies have shown your eyes are most likely to wander.

While retailers often understand the best store locations to get products in front of idle customers, understanding where the eyes of those idle customers go is an equally important part of the equation. Real success requires displays that optimise the product placement to appeal to the customer’s subconscious while maintaining a pleasant overall aesthetic.

Tricks of the trade

Eye tracking technology has shown that most people have certain habits while shopping that fit with the human experience and rarely waver. Here are some in-store examples:

  1. Nearly all written languages read left-to-right, which is why advertisements will often have the most important information starting from the left in order to catch your eye. As it turns out, display placement in a store follows a similar rule. Senses may initially be piqued by a display just left-of-center when you enter a store because that’s the first natural place your eyes will direct, followed by a store design leading eyes to the right and moving anticlockwise through the store.
  2. In a smaller store, a tall display up-front tends to block the view of the rest of the store, making it look even smaller and without much selection. Lower displays avert the shopper’s eyes to the low shelves, making the store look bigger and full of stocked shelves.
  3. End-of-aisle displays can instinctively lead shoppers to skip over parts of the aisle just to get to where they know there is a deal, so it is of vital importance for those displays to take full advantage of eye-tracking research.

Eyes and emotions

Understanding where shoppers’ eyes go comes down to a simple understanding of people. It’s believed that up to 95% of human behaviour is automatic and driven by emotion, which makes it vastly more important for in-store marketers to understand how the right product needs to be put where eyes will engage, ultimately leading to better conversion rates.

Contact us for more information on how to optimise your display presentation and take your sales to another level.


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