Shop smart(er)

May 24, 2013

Nearly 20 years ago, when I was living in Boston and marketing expert Raymond Burke was teaching at Harvard University, I participated in one of his lab’s experiments. Burke, who is now E.W. Kelley Chair of Business Administration and director of the Customer Interface Laboratory at IU Bloomington, has been using cutting-edge technologies to test what we buy and how we buy it since the 1980s.  I still remember sitting before a computer screen on the Harvard campus, marveling at the bright cartoon-like box of virtual cereal that I could “pick up” off the store shelf.

Since then, Burke’s laboratory tools have come a long way. The Customer Interface Laboratory in IU’s Kelley School of Business features flat-panel displays, a panoramic dome, and virtual reality goggles that create a totally immersive shopping environment. And now Burke and his colleagues can even send their technologies into the stores, equipping shoppers with eye-tracking gear to record what happens when they hit the actual aisles.

Here’s a recent news story video on applications of Burke’s research in the marketplace.  For more on Burke’s research, see this story in IU’s Research & Creative Activity magazine.

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