Case: Using Eye Tracking to map shopper behaviour

The difference between what shoppers say and what they actually do


The team at Beautiful Clarity has extensive experience in performing quantitative research aiming to map behavior at a large scale (Read more about our touchpoint project HERE), creating insights that can be generalized to the population. Even though a quantitative method is useful and necessary to confirm general behaviour with large data, in depth studies are necessary to understand the cognitive mechanisms behind a shopper’s decision.

Beautiful Clarity was commissioned to perform an in-depth, qualitative study of consumers shopping for home appliances. The objective of this exploratory study was to learn as much as possible about the shoppers path to purchase and to identify barriers, opportunities, and insights for strategic improvements.

The home appliance market has become more complex with new innovations and new technologies. And the rise of on-line retail has fragmented the channels. Has this changed how people make their choices? And how do you compete in this landscape at the point of purchase?


The study’s methodology consisted of three steps; Unaccompanied shopping tasks with eye tracking, accompanied walkthrough with eye tracking and In-depth interviews. This set-up made it possible to observe consumers actual, free behavior and at the same time receive insights about their reasoning. This also shed light on discrepancies between actual behavior and post-shopping rationalizing and perspectives.

After the unaccompanied shopping task, the shoppers were accompanied for a walk-through of their task. They could now show us how they had performed their task and point out specific items, events, problems, and decisions.

An in-depth interview was performed in-store about habits and relation to the task that the product fulfills, shopping habits and more.

The results

Are consumers consistent with what they want? Or say they want? And how do they assess the characteristics they desire?

Shoppers can state their goals when entering the store. A consumer with allergies is for example clear about their goal to find an allergy friendly product. But less rational properties, such as look and feel, play an important role in the final choice. And many of the rational properties are often assessed by looking at visual attributes rather than technical specifications.

A brand with a clear design that is unique for that brand is more easily spotted and noticed. An interesting finding is that the shoppers filter their consideration set based on their expectation of what the desired property should look like. A brand that manages to own the look of the desired property will own therefore this property.

Design does matter, and even if the nature of design is subjective, it is measurable and can be improved by research. By using a scientific approach, a brand can increase its relevance at POP and increase its sales.