eBay UK Delves Into the Minds of Consumers Through Art, Technology

EEG headsets register consumers’ reaction to art and provide insights into what shoppers subconsciously want
October 12, 2017Joanne Friedrick

LONDON—eBay UK and its art partner, Saatchi Art, teamed up with a mind-technology firm to delve into consumers’ subconscious to gain insight into the overall shopping experience at its The Art of Shopping event.

Set up on Mortimer Street, The Art of Shopping used electroencephalogram headbands to gauge shoppers’ reactions to various works of art, according to an article on Tamebay, a U.K. news site for eBay power sellers.

eBay partnered with MyndPlay, U.K.-based creators of the EEG brainwave technology headsets that were used to monitor electrical activity in the brain. According to an article on Dezeen.com about the two-day event last week, the technology was able to locate those moments when the wearer was inspired by the artwork they were viewing.

Participants moved through a series of gallery spaces, beginning by interacting with games on an iPad designed to “relax visitors and empty their minds,” according to Tamebay writer Chris Dawson, who participated in the event.

In subsequent galleries, people viewed art and, according to Deezen.com, were asked to stand in front of 10 pieces they liked best for at least 20 seconds. All of the art was curated by Saatchi Art, which sells its products through eBay.

Afterward, participants received a report showing them what works of art triggered the strongest brain activity and a digital shopping cart with items based on their subconscious preferences, said Deezen.com.

Tamebay’s Dawson noted that his shopping cart included a gas fire pit. “Those that know me will know how much I love a fire in the garden,” he wrote. “How viewing a colorful array of art could find products that really did inspire me, I don’t know, but it certainly worked.”

“Using the backdrop of the ultimate place of inspiration, an art gallery, we opened the first subconscious shopping experience, enabling people to shop authentically and creating shopping carts that reflected what makes them, them” Bradford Shellhammer, head of personalization and engagement at eBay, told Deezen.com.

Robb Hattrell, vice president of eBay UK, told Deezen.com, the technology is the future of shopping.

The Art of Shopping project was developed based on a report commissioned by eBay on the neuroscience of what motivates buyers, the Deezen.com article reported. The report looked into impulse buyers, or “shop-y-cats” and “inspired shoppers” who seek unique products.

Shop-y-cats tend to find shopping a draining experience, while inspired shoppers will browse longer. The goal is to personalize the shopping experience.

“We know that inspired shopping delivers a prolonged adrenaline high at checkout, comparable to a Formula One Driver finishing a circuit,” Shellhammer told Deezen.com


Joanne FriedrickJoanne Friedrick | Contributing Editor

Joanne Friedrick is a contributing editor for HFN with more than 20 years of retail and housewares business reporting, writing and editing. For the past 15 years she has been operating her own business with clients that include Convenience Distribution, Seafood Source and Zest, a Maine-focused consumer food and lifestyle magazine.


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