The Science of Shopping

The Economist has a fascinating and eye-opening article looking at the ‘science of shopping’. Mind Hacks reviews the article:

The piece discusses the psychology of big store marketing, touching on three areas: store layout and environment design, ‘neuromarketing’ and customer tracking.

It’s interesting that much of the fuss in the media has focused on ‘neuromarketing’ – the use of cognitive neuroscience to understand consumer behaviour – when it is clear from this article that it is really quite impotent in the face of the two other powerful techniques.

Neuromarketing is largely the study of financial decision making and typically relies on correlating brain activity with simulated consumer purchasing.

The idea is that it will explain how we make purchase decisions and will give us access to some of the unconscious process that are at work. Once we understand these, it could lead marketers to new techniques that we would never have discovered by studying behaviour or opinions alone.