How consumer neuroscience is transforming how we shop

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As more retailers turn to technology to boost their competitive advantage, consumer neuroscience may be an unexpected game-changer in the space.

Consumer neuroscientist Dr Phil Harris believes advanced technology developments in neuroscience can open the way to multi-sensory shopping experiences in ordinary retail stores.

“The interest in customer research is understanding how people react to a product or brand experience in a timeframe that provides an opportunity to get insight and meets their needs,” Harris told SmartCompany.

In October last year, Harris was involved in Japanese retailer UNIQLO’s first neuroscience fashion campaign UMood.

UMood, developed by Isobar and Dentsu Science, works by tracking consumer brainwaves through a device they place on their head, which picks up brain activity as they watch ten images.

This is then linked back to a database of 600 UNIQLO shirts and a product is recommended to the customer according to the determined mood.

“That general approach can be applied in a whole number of different industries,” Harris says.

Harris points out he would love to have this technology utilised when he is shopping for ties.

This because consumers are faced with more choices than ever before.

Immersive shopping can help consumers simplify their experience by narrowing down options more easily.

Harris believes too much choice is one of the substantial problems consumers face.

“The more choice they get, the more confusing it gets,” he says.

But more brands are turning to technology to rectify this issue.

According to Ragtrader, the likes of Mimco, Pandora and General Pants Co. are starting to integrate innovative tech ideas to boost their in-store shopping experiences.

Mimco has been working with Telstra and Mandoe to deliver interactive touch tables with digital cameras that help provide customers with more detailed product information.

It plans to rollout more of this technology throughout its Melbourne stores this year.

Similarly, General Pants Co. has been working with Digital Arts Network to create a more immersive experience for customers at stores across Australia.

The partnership has seen the brand roll out kiosks at stores to complete the “loop” between customers, product and social media.

General Pants Co chief executive Craig King told Ragtrader it was a matter of staying ahead or falling behind.

“We knew our customers were digital natives so stacking the kiosks with products, GP Co activities and music seemed a great way to increase the in-store experience at General Pants,” King said.

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