News Feature | July 3, 2017

Eye Tracking And Virtual Reality Comes Together For Researchers In Retail

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer


Possibilities emerge for new technology to help boost customer engagement and boost sales.

A new solution applying eye tracking research to immersive virtual reality environments could have immense possibilities for retailers. Global eye tracking leader Tobii Pro has announced the development of Tobii Pro VR Integration, a new solution  that unlocks new research possibilities for retailers, advertisers and marketers. 

Eye tracking reveals unique insights into consumer behavior, and now through VR, researchers have complete control over a study environment. They can run simulations that previously would have been too costly, risky or difficult to conduct in real life

A number of retailers have already made the leap to VR or AR in their stores and online to help boost sales and show customers options before they buy.  Ikea just launched a new augmented reality app that leverages technology to drive ecommerce, as Innovative Retail Technologies reported. And IKEA is not the only retailer making the foray into VR technology. Lowe’s and Pottery Barn both have VR apps that let you “try out” products in your personal space, and Lowe’s also uses AR to help customers navigate their stores and VR to guide home improvement project workshops.

This new technology means that retailers can set up a virtual in-store experience to evaluate how shoppers navigate the space; or marketers can gauge which messages or products in that space attracts a shopper’s attention the most. The VR solution eliminates the time and expense required for researching in a physical store.

“Combining eye tracking with VR is growing as a research methodology and our customers have started to demand this technology to be part of their toolkit for behavioral studies. The Tobii Pro VR Integration is our first step in making eye tracking in immersive VR a reliable and effective research tool for a range of fields. It marks our first major expansion of VR-based research tools,” said Tom Englund, president, Tobii Pro.  

“Eye tracking in immersive VR will open up opportunities for new ways of evaluating research questions that leverage the ability to control the environment and the net gain for researchers will be stronger insights that will be more predictive of real-world behavior,” said Dr. Tim Holmes, director of research and development at Acuity Intelligence and Honorary Research Associate at Royal Holloway, University of London. 

A video discussing the different research applications of the technology may be found here.