A widespread tactic sees shoppers fitted with small cameras to record their movements, product interactions and field of vision (we'll come back to this) in-store. They may be interviewed and their purchases noted in the hope of assessing the impact and effectiveness of POS.
But this technique won't enable ROI to be measured. It's too imprecise. A shopper's field of vision is likely to contain hanging signs, floor signs, fins, barkers and all manner of shelf-edge materials as well as product. Knowing what was around at the time doesn't identify what the shopper actually looked at.
Yet this deeper insight is indispensible if we are to measure ROI on POS. To obtain it a more robust methodology is required.
Active shopping can be divided into three stages: navigation, consideration and selection. In outline, during navigation the shopper notices in-store communication and product and during consideration they engage with these in some way before making a selection.
By using eye tracking technology, every single eye fixation of every individual shopper can be recorded and analysed. In contrast to merely recording what was in front of shoppers it measures precisely what attracts each one and which elements are being used at what stage in the decision-making process.
Research of this more thorough kind can determine ROI on all POS materials by establishing the exact relationship between cost and effectiveness of individual elements of the in-store display, identifying their role in category navigation, brand value building and brand conversion.
Earlier this year Nielsen announced the indefinite suspension of its P.R.I.S.M. initiative. I expect other similarly broad brush exercises to follow that into oblivion.