Shopping on the Brain

Author: Casey Gale       



What triggers an impulse purchase? Why is retail therapy considered a comfort? The Shopper Brain Conference is here to solve the science behind shopping.

Organized by the Neuromarketing Science & Business Administration (NMSBA) and closely associated with global nonprofit trade association Shop!, the two-day event brought together brand leaders, retailers, and industry consultants to scratch consumers’ hard-to-reach itches. “We are looking mainly at the challenges of retailers and shopper marketers today,” said Carla Nagel, executive director of NMSBA.

WHY WE BUY Marketers use big data to analyze consumer trends, but that “can’t tell you the why,” Nagel said. “It can only tell you what performs better. But neuroscience can really add to that by bringing the emotional part and why people prefer one product over the other.” Sessions like “Best Ways to Recruit New Shoppers Using Emotional Marketing” taught attendees how to entice the competition’s customer base with charm, while “Memory and Marketing” delved into how memorable marketing campaigns influence future purchases.

THE FACE OF RETAIL Emerging technology plays a significant role in helping marketers learn what catches customers’ attention. Kamal Sharma, shopper insights lead at The Hershey Company, spoke to attendees about rethinking merchandise placement to draw eyes to new items based on a recently performed experiment. Facial coding and tracking revealed where people were looking on the shelf, Nagel said, “and how to t their new product best [among other products].” In the session “Copycat Killers: Self-Defense Training for Brands,” Tim Holmes, Ph.D., a specialist in visual attention and consumer psychology, shared how brands can protect against knockoffs by using unique colors and imagery.

INTERNATIONAL FLAIR The Shopper Brain Conference originated in Amsterdam in 2012 before expanding its presence around the globe. The Chicago conference marked the second year for the American edition, while the Euro- pean version will celebrate its fifth year back in Amsterdam in October. Also on the horizon is a first-time excursion to Rio de Janeiro in 2018.

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