A woman wearing Tobii Pro Glasses 2 looks at a shelf with products.

A Newcomer’s Perspective: Eye Tracking for Packaging Research

Running your first eye tracking study is an exciting research milestone. We spoke with Nicole Fink of King’s Hawaiian in Los Angeles, CA about their first eye tracking study on consumer attention to new and existing package designs.

Running your first eye tracking research study is an exciting research milestone, but there are a lot of important factors to consider. Am I designing the study correctly? How do I get the best possible data? Which methods of analysis are well-suited to answer my particular research questions? As a way of exploring the eye tracking experience from a newcomer’s perspective, we spoke with Nicole Fink of King’s Hawaiian in Los Angeles, CA. King’s Hawaiian was interested in understanding visibility and attention for new and existing package designs, and Nicole’s team decided that this was a great opportunity to incorporate eye tracking into their work for the first time. Let’s check in and see how it went!

How did you decide that you wanted to use eye tracking in your research?

When I came to King’s Hawaiian and they were talking about exploring different packaging options for their existing products, I thought this was a great opportunity to bring Tobii Pro into the organization. One of the objectives that we were trying to learn is “findability.” So as someone is walking up to our shelf does changing the packaging – different colors, different call-outs – allow them to find the package faster? The other thing that we were interested in was “noticeability” on the shelf. Does having the different coloring and call-outs allow people to notice these products that if they didn’t even know the King’s Hawaiian name. Introducing eye tracking to answer these questions was important.

Woman looking at her phone and packaging in a store

Tell me about your experience using Tobii Pro Glasses on your recent study

I’ll tell you I was a little nervous because it was the first time and we were testing in store. I first practiced in the office with my colleagues to make sure I felt comfortable with the technology. The other thing that I was worried about was the WiFi capabilities. I didn’t know how strong it was going to be, and I didn’t know if we would have any difficulties connecting. The Tobii Pro support team did an excellent job of giving me backup and options in case anything happened. The in-store execution went really smooth, and we didn’t have any hiccups. There was only one participant that we had trouble calibrating, but once we changed nose pieces we were able to track them well.

What was the feedback you got from the team after the study and how will the insights be used?

I didn’t have any pushback about the technology or using this methodology ahead of time. When I presented the information, everyone was receptive to all of the insights that were gathered. What was great about this research is that it not only helped us answer the questions that we had, it helped us to uncover some problems that we didn’t even know existed. In terms of the results, we found that consumers were noticing the new package more than the current package so they decided to make the decision to move forward with the new design. I think that in the future we’re going to use this as a standard methodology for anything new, whether it’s a brand new product or new packaging.

Woman looking at an adversiting sign in a store

Did anything surprise you about using eye tracking technology?

For analysis, I expected to just be watching each video and sort of gauging and taking notes. That seemed like it would be a significant amount of time to go through all that video. But what I was surprised about is that you take an image of the package and you plot the data and then you’re able to really see where people are paying the most attention through heat maps. Also being able to get things like Time to First Fixation as an aggregate number – I thought that was really cool, and I had no expectation that this technology would be able to provide that level of detail.

What is the biggest benefit of being able to see through the eyes of your customers?

What I appreciated during the research – and it was actually a tip provided by Tobii Pro Insight – when each of the consumers were done going through the exercise, we came back to the table and I showed them the video. Being able to ask them questions like “it seems like you fixated on this shelf – why did that catch your attention?” It was cool because usually you don’t know what’s going through their mind, but to show them that video and then ask them questions makes a big difference. [Comment of the editor: the method used here is called retrospective-think-aloud interview ].


Want to learn more about setting up an eye tracking research study? Check out these case studies or talk to one of our experts to help you get started.