Christmas may be the season of giving, family gatherings, and vacations, but tell that to those who need to do the stressful task of shopping. In fact, Ebay now has the scientific evidence to prove this. Ebay has partnered with US tech firm Lightwave to create the world’s first “Emotionally Powered Store” located in London. It uses facial decoding technology to decide the Christmas presents you need to buy for your loved ones. Ebay has been using this sort of technology to study how the brain works while shopping for gifts. A person easily loses motivation to shop for gifts – whether in a store or online – in around half an hour especially when choosing is the difficulty. To resolve this difficulty issue, Ebay will run interactive screens in its store that shows customers a range of gift ideas in a short space of time.
At the same time it will measure facial expressions and how long individuals spend looking at each gift to measure emotional response. The store opened on Tuesday, November 29, and will run for two more days. In more detail, Ebay’s new Oxford Circus Store in London has installed cubicles with the aforementioned interactive screens. Called “biometric pods,” customers can use these cubicles to find out what gift ideas will be the most emotionally satisfying to give. According to Ebay’s Senior Retail Director Rhian Bartlett, “to use the service, customers should go in with an open mind, and concentrate on the person they’re shopping for.” For instance, if you’re buying a gift for your mom and dad, you need to really think about them. If they’re the types of persons who buy things that they need more than fancy stuff, then they’re not easy people to buy gifts for, and so the customer needs to really focus on them.
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Once the customer signs up with their name, age, and email address, a series of 12 gift ideas are presented, while cameras inside the booth monitor the customer’s facial expressions. The whole process takes around five minutes. The customer has the option to look through the items again. At this point, the cameras are reading how long the customer spends on each item, as well as how they react to a specific gift. Once the customer is finished, the pod automatically sends the customer an email listing the gifts that appealed the most. These choices are usually three or four in number so you can select better. The customer doesn’t always have to get the top items listed, but the service does offer an insight into the types of gifts that a customer might want to buy for their loved ones. While the booths display just 12 gift ideas, Ebay’s London store allows people to purchase up to 150 selected items. A small portion of the profits in the purchase sales will go to a number of selected charities.