NEWS24 May 2011

Retail marketers turn to neuroscience to understand shopper decisions

North America

US— Retail marketing association Popai is using neuroscience and eye-tracking in a new study of how shoppers make decisions in stores.

The study will use portable EEG equipment to monitor brain activity in combination with eye-tracking and shopper interviews. The aim is to understand how purchase decisions are made and the extent to which they are influenced by in-store marketing.

Popai said findings from the study would help brands and retailers understand whether particular product categories are driven by planned or impulse buying, choose the most effective types of displays and understand how different shopper segments behave.

By using brain-scanning and eye-tracking technology to measure shoppers’ physiological responses, the association hopes to get around the problem of people forgetting or misreporting what they saw or did.

The project will be led by Lily Lev-Glick of Shopper Sense (who also led Popai’s last shopper study), working with retail researcher SmartRevenue and neuromarketing firm Sands Research.

Popai president Richard Winter said the study would build on previous work by the association that estimated the percentage of the purchase decision made in stores.

Lev-Glick said: “The neuroscientific focus is an excellent complement to the vast amount of purchase decision data and behavioural insights that Popai is known for. By looking through the lens of the shopper in conjunction with the inner workings of the mind and then combining those with Popai’s proven methodology of measuring levels of in-store decision making, we will expand the understanding of shopper behaviour and successful marketing at retail strategy.”

A pilot programme will beigin in June, with the full project due to take place in July.

Popai has more than 1,700 member organisations worldwide.