Date of Award

8-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Computer Science

Advisor

Duchowski, Andrew T

Committee Member

Ingram , Samual T

Committee Member

Grossman , Harold C

Committee Member

Davis , Timothy A

Abstract

Consumer product packaging provides product damage protection, extends product shelf life, and communicates product usage instructions to the consumer. Its collective contribution to the waste stream is notorious, but its role in product salability is much less understood. Consumers now make the majority of product purchase decisions while present at the shelf, and since they do it very quickly (within 5-8 seconds), and do not appear to adhere to strong brand loyalty as was once more common, packaging (and more specifically, its aesthetics and contrast with its competitors) plays a dominant role in the decision-making process. It is difficult, however, to measure and predict the effectiveness of package design via empirical consumer response testing, and even more challenging to seamlessly integrate consumer response measures into the package design process. The key to meaningful measurement of consumer behavior in the package design process is immersion of the consumer in a convincing environment that elicits natural shopping behavior. While an actual retail store offers the most realistic environment, controlling experimental conditions in this setting is problematic. An artificial simulation of such an environment is desirable for reasons of efficiency, cost, and flexibility. CUshop, a unique laboratory mixing physical store elements with those akin to virtual reality simulation, is introduced. The laboratory has been created with the goal of priming participants into a shopping context, or shopping frame of mind, prompting realistic consumer behavior that can be measured and studied via objective forms of measurement (e.g., eye tracking).

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