LONDON: Ebay is using EEG headsets to understand what is happening to shoppers at a neurological level during the shopping experience, by exposing them to art.

With an exhibition taking place at 2 Fitzroy Place in London, the company is displaying what it calls the “world’s first subconscious shopping experience”. The art is provided in partnership with Saatchi Art.

Visitors wear electroencephalogram headsets to measure which artworks evoke particular neurological reactions in viewers. The EEG headset works by measuring electrical signals created by neurons in the brain. At the end of the tour of the art gallery, the results of the experience create a “personalised shopping cart based on their unique experience”.

On the event page, the company adds that “the experimental space brings neuroscience and art together delivering an inspired and personalised shopping experience like no other”.

The idea stems from research that the company undertook by comparing the mindstates of people who follow others when selecting purchases – “shop-y-cats” – against those of “inspired shoppers” who buy more uniquely; 84% of these are more likely to feel a prolonged high at checkout.

The result of the research suggests that people are most open to inspiration when they remain present, focused, and calm. The gallery, WARC was told, is most likely to evoke a more inspired state.

The experience is set to launch in conjunction with its new AI-enabled home page which aims to bring its customers a new level of personalisation. eBay Interests is intended to provide a tailored shopping experience based on the shopper’s style, interests, and activities.

In marketing, neuroscience techniques have typically been used to optimise advertising creative, not least in the case of Coca Cola’s recent Pool Boy ad.

Prior to this effort, eBay opened an “emotionally-powered” shop in London last November. Rana June, founder of Lightwave, the organisation with which eBay partnered to measure micro-movements in participants’ faces, explained that the high-tech integration in this manner pointed to “what the future of shopping can be”.

There have been other examples of innovative uses of EEG. Back in 2015, the BBC partnered with UX firm This Place to build an EEG-controlled version of the popular iPlayer app, controlled with the states of attention or meditation. Concentrating on a highlighted program for ten seconds would launch the app, Campaign reported at the time.

Sourced from Campaign, Eventbrite, Evening Standard; additional content by WARC staff