Ebay has opened the world’s first store powered by emotion just in time for Giving Tuesday and also revealed just how stressful Christmas shopping can be.
OK, it’s only a pop-up and only open for two days (it closes later today), but the store (at 93 Mortimer Street, London) is an interesting concept. It’s a “do good, feel good” experience that encourages visitors to “unwrap” what it means to give thoughtfully this Christmas.
How does it do this? Well, in biometric booths it uses intelligent bio-analytic technology and facial coding to (hopefully) remove outside stresses as people browse a selection of items from the retailer’s Giving page. The idea is that the tech identifies which items create the biggest emotional connection. The ‘shoppers’ then get a report on the three items that they connected to the most.
There’s also an ”emotional tapestry” centrepiece covering 20 sq m that translates shopper emotions in real time. Not sure about that one. Stressed shoppers can be pretty scary – I have a vision of the centrepiece evolving and going into meltdown as it destroys vast swathes of central London.
Anyway, back to reality (or is that virtual reality?), US firm Lightwave provided the facial coding tech and ambient biometric sensors and also worked with eBay on a study giving the whole thing a bit of context.
The two conducted a biometric study that suggested Christmas gift shopping can increase heart rate by 32%, which is similar to taking part in a long race. 100 people were fitted with biometric wearables that measured their emotional responses as they shopped. A massive 88% of them experienced tachycardia.
Equally bad (for their wallets if not their health), most lost interest after 32 minutes and hit what eBay called the “wall of disenchantment.” That’s when shoppers settle for anything just to avoid having to shop for any longer, so cue large amounts of money wasted on unwanted gifts.
The company is suggesting we should treat Christmas shopping like we do exercise, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) it would be HIIS. So we shop for a bit then rest. Hmmmm. Not sure how practical that is, unless you’re web-browsing at home. But maybe if you choose stores that have plenty of cafés nearby, it might just work.