News Feature | December 21, 2016

Can Biometrics Help You Find The Perfect Christmas Gift?

Biometrics Iris Scan

eBay opens pop-up using biometric technology to reduce the stress of holiday shopping.

eBay recently opened the world’s first pop-up store using biometric technology to help reduce the stress of holiday shopping. Teaming up with Lightwave, eBay created the first “emotionally powered store” in London using facial coding technology to help shoppers decide on the best gifts for those on their shopping lists.

eBay’s Ultimate ‘Do Good, Feel Good’ Shop launched on Tuesday November 29 and ran for two days, according to Business Insider, and contained cubicles outfitted with interactive screens that display a range of 12 gift ideas to customers while measuring facial expressions and the length of time users spend looking at each gift to measure their emotional response. These biometric pods help shoppers determine which gifts will be the most emotionally satisfying for their recipients. Shoppers were sent a list of products that appealed to them most as suggested gifts.

eBay’s Senior Retail Director Rhian Bartlett told Business Insider that shoppers need to “go in with an open mind,” when using the biometric pods, “and concentrate on the person they’re shopping for.”

The heart of the store also displayed a fluid infographic, combining the facial coding data collected from each customer and displays how they were feeling.

According to an earlier study from eBay and Lightwave, Christmas shopping is as stressful as running a marathon, and participants found increased heartrates (33 percent) and even tachycardia (88 percent) while shopping. Shoppers cannot hold attention for long, with 60 percent hitting shopping fatigue at 32 minutes, at which point they hit a “wall of disenchantment”  when “giving becomes transactional” rather than thoughtful.

The study concluded that shoppers should thus embrace “High Intensity Interval Shopping (H. I. I. S.), or short bursts of shopping that reduce anxiety and encourage more meaningful purchases.

“The study shows that short bursts of shopping can make you less stressed and potentially more thoughtful in your buying habits this Christmas. Bite size browsing, such as taking 10 minutes to shop via mobile on commute or purchasing single items during a lunch break can decrease stress and promote more mindful shopping,” commented Retail Director at eBay, Rhian Bartlett.