Tobii Pro employs its eye-trackers to find out what attracts attention in a car showroom
This is the first public data from a showroom study using Tobii’s glasses.
When potential buyers go into a car showroom, car brands have 20-second windows of attention to make the sale.
That’s one of the takeaways from an eye-tracking study — out this week — that was conducted by eye-tracking researcher Tobii Pro, Toyota Canada and conference provider Dx3 Canada. The study took place at a mock car showroom created at the Dx3 marketing conference this past March in Toronto, which included a Corolla, a RAV4, pretend salespeople and promotional displays.
Tobii Pro Insight Senior Research Director Mike Bartels told me this is “the first marketing showroom data that Tobii has made publicly available,” although his company has conducted other confidential showroom studies.
Ninety-two conference goers, wearing Tobii Pro Glasses 2 wearable eye-trackers, volunteered to explore the showroom as they might a regular showroom. The glasses recorded what the participants looked at and for how long.
In the “no-surprise” department, cars were the main attraction, with most of participants’ attention on consoles and their instrumentation, gear shifts and side windows (where dealers usually have their pricing and related info).
The participants were divided into only two groups: millennials and “older,” a demarcation that is rather sobering for anyone not in their 20s or 30s. Older shoppers spent more time looking at the cars, and millennials were more interested in the interactive displays. Both groups looked at marketing displays if they were directly in their walking path.
Bartels noted that the younger shoppers’ attention spans may be shorter because they are better tuned to process information quickly. Tobii’s eye-tracker is frequently used to monitor attention spans online, where the ability to quickly scan information is often related to a site’s overall value to a user.
For marketers who create showrooms or interactive displays for showrooms, as well as ones developing web sites, studies like this demonstrate that shoppers’ attention flows are key to whether they make buying decisions — or leave. In fact, Tobii has also been experimenting with a combination of real and virtual environments, where virtual reality is used to model attention flows in physical shopping spaces.
I pointed out that, as a generalization of how shoppers explore car showrooms, this particular study may have had some flaws.
They weren’t real shoppers, they were taking a quick break from the conference, and they weren’t looking to spend their own money. They also weren’t representative shoppers, since they were marketing to tech-savvy attendees at a conference on that subject, plus the sample size was small, and the sales people were play-acting.
Bartels acknowledged that these were “fair points,” adding that there are always some tradeoffs in studies.
But, he added, the results are “consistent with what we’ve seen” in the confidential studies, and they’re consistent with a key trend Tobii finds among online users:
“Give me answers, and don’t make me read.”