Unilever building
Unilever logo.

Headquarters: London, UK
Founded: 1929
Industry: Consumer goods

Unilever is an FMCG company which produces food and household items and owns more than one thousand brands. Learn more at www.unilever.com

Improving package design for Unilever

Unilever – a global FMCG company with more than a thousand brands in its portfolio uses eye tracking to understand what attracts consumer attention in-store. By seeing where shoppers look and understanding what package design elements are most effective the company can influence purchase decisions at the shelf, achieve a competitive advantage, and improve ROI.

“Using eye tracking gives you the opportunity to look through the consumer’s eyes, so instead of only listening to an opinion we now see the analysis…and when we need a specific answer to a question, we use a lot of eye tracking because eyes don’t lie.”

Jeroen van der Kallen
Customer Insight and Innovation Manager Europe, Unilever

The question

Most purchase decisions are made at the shelf, making product design and placement a crucial consideration for brands. Unilever wanted to test how its products perform in-store, both alone and alongside the products of major competitors. The company was aware that traditional marketing research approaches like surveys, focus groups, and shop-alongs don’t always paint the full picture when it comes to buyer behavior and what influences purchase decisions so it turned to eye tracking research to better understand consumers.

The method

The global FMCG company partnered with Tobii Pro’s research consultancy division to run eye tracking based shopper studies inside Unilever’s Customer Insight and Innovation Centre. Wearable eye trackers were used to record the attention data of shoppers as they engaged with products on the shelf. This data was then analyzed to reveal what elements shoppers were drawn to, how they visually engaged with various branding or marketing features, and what role this interaction had on their behavior.

The outcome

The information from the study helped Unilever determine what design and information features resonate most with shoppers allowing the company to optimize brand awareness and brand perception. Data visualizations were used to help interpret the results and share the information with various stakeholders. This insight on product and branding features enabled Unilever to make continual improvements to increase sales and the research methodology is now routinely used by the company.