High intensity interval shopping? eBay’s ’emotional tech’ pop-up says yes

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.

Based at 93 Mortimer Street in London, the concept space is only open for two days (Nov 29-30). A “do good, feel good” experience, it encourages visitors to “unwrap” what it means to give thoughtfully this Christmas.

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 identified 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. US firm Lightwave provided the facial coding tech and ambient biometric sensors and also worked with eBay on research 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) would become “HIIS”. So we shop for a bit then rest. 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.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday.