Tracking glasses: Why do we buy what we buy?

New technology helps researchers understand why we buy certain products.

It’s a new way of learning why shoppers buy what they do—it all starts from a lab where studies are run on how we make our buying decisions at the store.

“We call it a shopper lab and what we do here is we do experiments to help us understand how people make choices between the brands they buy,” said John Traynor, the President and CEO of IN VIVO BVA USA.

That's information food makers are paying big bucks to get—wrongly marketing a product can cost a company millions of dollars.

“If I change my package is it going to be confusing to people or is going to improve my product all the way to here's a new product I want to put it on the shelf, are people going to see it, are people going to understand it, or ultimately how do I arrange the shelf,” Traynor said.

IN VIVO operates three labs—in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.

Observing shoppers like Jenna Cippoletti is just the start.

“I didn't see anything new that sparked my interest so I just went with what I knew and what I liked,” Cippoletti said.

Test shoppers use eye tracking glasses that map exactly where their eyes go while on the move in the store—from what the eye sees first, what it lingers on, and where it finally settles.

“We use it understand what people use to make decisions, what they look at in what order, where they tend to fix their attention when they shop and what's interesting and what’s not interesting to them when they shop,” Traynor said.

To understand why a shopper walked past some products and picked up others, researchers go low tech and simply ask.

While the researchers can’t perfectly predict what you will do when you cruise the aisles, it’s a good bet that where the eyes go, the wallet follows.