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Monday, December 29, 2008

Science of Shopping

Broad article in the Economist on the topic of how retail is increasingly using the store as a laboratory to gather behavioral data about shoppers. Also about their subconscious behavior gathered through neuroanalysis means, how they react to broader sensory stimuli. Simon Harrop of Brandsense is quoted re aroma stimuli in retail.

What the article misses is the use of laboratory stores and innovation centers, such as those created by manufacturers P&G and Kimberly Clark to test ideas, both physically and virtually, before they are rolled into actual retail environments. This allows a level of experimental detail that is much more difficult to do in real environments. More about that in this blog. This combination of lab and actual real environments is particularly powerful.

Various neuroscience methods are covered. Sainsbury, a pioneer in agent-based store simulation is also discussed in their use of novel store designs. Also the company Videomining, which uses real store video data to build databases of shopper behavior. Some coverage of potential backlashes and ethical issues, though much of what they describe would occur in laboratory rather than public retail environments. Good article. Further commentary in the blog Mind Hacks. The Economist article:

The science of shopping : The way the brain buys
Retailers are making breakthroughs in understanding their customers’ minds. Here is what they know about you ... "

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