OCT 23, 2017 5:49 AM PDT

How Neuroscience is Creating a Better Shopping Experience

Do you ever come home from a shopping trip, look at a purchase and say, "What was I thinking?" If so, you are not alone. Marketing professionals spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in focus groups, consumer studies and research to figure out why shoppers choose the items they do. Is it because it's a trend, is it because it's priced well, or do lots of people just like the color of the box it comes in? Naturally, science is involved in many of these efforts, specifically neuroscience. Getting into the minds of shoppers is crucial for sales.

Online shopping site eBay has taken it a bit further. Partnering with an art gallery and a company that produces headsets that can read brain waves, they launched a pop-up shopping experience in London recently. Dubbed "The Art of Shopping" eBay, MyndPlay and Saatchi Art worked together to create a shopping experience that was able to give feedback, in real time, to shoppers based on their thoughts and feelings after viewing works of art.

eBay has researched shopping habits and found that many consumers (over half of those surveyed in the UK) admitted that they often decided to purchase an item because they felt that buying it would help them fit in or "keep up with the Joneses." They call this behavior being a "shop-y cat" where purchase decisions are made based on what the shopper believes other people are also buying. After monitoring brain waves, it was found that this kind of shopping behavior results in mental fatigue on the part of shoppers, who, if they cannot find an item that they believe is trendy enough, will simply not purchase anything. In contrast, shoppers who are more intuitive and shopped for items that were unique and more suited to their actual emotions and desires experienced a mental high, and that was called "inspired shopping behavior."

So how do they know all this? That's where MyndPlay comes in. They created a headset for the experience that monitored the wearer's gamma brain waves. Gamma waves are associated with pleasure and creativity. Shoppers were asked to wear the headsets while viewing an art installation set up by Saatchi Art. After walking through the exhibit, the shoppers agreed to plug the high-tech headgear into tablets. The information gathered was downloaded and based on that information, personalized purchase recommendations were made. The shoppers reported that having items suggested to them that were tailored to their tastes and feelings was a much more positive shopping experience than trying to figure out what was on trend and would fit in with popular culture.

Rob Lattrell, Vice President of eBay UK, stated, "We want to be there for consumers when inspiration strikes and offer a more personalized shopping experience. Through the Art of Shopping, we're exploring this in a fun, engaging way but the integration of interests at the end of the year gives a glimpse into how we see the future of shopping on eBay."

The video below has more information on this exciting and interactive shopping experience, check it out. The Christmas season is almost here, shop with your brain!

Sources: eBay, Digital Agency Network, Saatchi Art, MyndPlay 

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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