Uniqlo reads customers’ minds to sell t-shirts
From smart fitting rooms that offer clothing suggestions to touchscreen-enabled robots rolling through home centers to help customers find what they’re looking for, retailers are looking for new ways to use technology to anticipate the needs of customers and improve the shopping experience. The latest experiment on this front comes from Uniqlo and its UMood t-shirt technology.
PCWorld reports that Uniqlo’s UMood system analyzes a customer’s brainwaves through the use of an EEG headset the customer wears. The system displays a selection of images in order to gauge the customer’s neuro-electric responses to each and then uses that information to determine the customer’s mood. The customer is then shown one of the store’s 600 shirt designs, each tagged as evoking a particular mood. Uniqlo’s hope is that the match between the brainwave reading and the mood the shirt evokes will result in a sale.
Uniqlo debuted UMood in one store in Sydney, Australia, and will be implementing it in other stores in that area over the next few weeks.
Photos: Dentsu Sciencejam
The UMood concept may feel gimmicky at the moment — after all, there’s no real promise that the "mood" as defined by Uniqlo’s parsing of its EEG data is the deciding factor in what draws someone to purchase a particular article of clothing. But if measuring brainwaves can even gesture at giving reliable hard data insights into why a customer makes a purchase, it may be a technology that retailers and researchers continue to refine.
The use of EEG technology alongside other biofeedback response monitoring technology is a growing marketing trend in some areas outside of retail that has been dubbed "neuromarketing."
Like its name, the applications that have begun to emerge seem like something out of a cyberpunk science fiction novel. One company called Affectiva recently released an offering called Affdex Emotion as a Service, which allows enterprises and app designers to implement facial expression and emotion monitoring technology into their programs, and then interprets that visual data and converts it into metrics.
Similar techniques are also being used by the film industry to gauge the neurological and physiological reactions test audiences have to film trailers.
- Clothing retailer Uniqlo uses brain waves to match customers with t-shirts – PCWorld
- Rise of Neurocinema: How Hollywood Studios Harness Your Brainwaves to Win Oscars – Fast Company
- Affectiva announces availability of Emotion as a Service, a new data solution, and version 2.0 of its emotion-sensing SDK – Develop
What is your reaction to the Uniqlo UMood system? Do you see an opportunity for retailers to use brainwave monitoring as a way to drive sales in stores? Are there other areas of retailing where you could see this technology being useful?