Ground breaking research at the UNSW Business School has shown how augmented reality can be used to change consumer behaviour, and encourage more healthy eating choices.
A new smartphone app displays a store as shoppers walk around a supermarket, but only shows healthy products in colour and the rest is rendered in black and white, neutralising the influence of packaging.
"Marketers invest in packaging and the layout of the store because they understand how easily we are influenced by those," says Mathew Chylinski, a senior lecturer in the school of Marketing at the UNSW Business School.
"Augmented reality provides a unique opportunity for consumers to ‘flip this dynamic’. The consumer can change the way they experience the physical environment at the point of sale."
Mr Chylinski's experiments show that consumers using augmented reality are a lot more consistent in ensuring their shopping matches their goals. Test subjects, who viewed products via the screen of a mobile device in a simulated supermarket, made more healthy eating choices after the device removed colour from all but the healthiest options.
"In essence, it reduces how much influence packaging and product position has on consumer decision-making," Mr Chylinski says.
"People know they should eat healthily, but they get distracted at the point of sale. We're trying to give people the tools to empower them to change the stimuli and the information that they react to, when they make these decisions," he adds.
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School of Marketing