Consumers will learn to stop time-splitting and start living

Do we have your full attention?

If the latest news from neuroscientists and behavioural economics is anything to go by the answer is ‘no’ or perhaps ‘yes', for about two seconds.

We’ve heard a lot about concentration and quality of life over the past few years – learnt that multi-tasking really means constantly flitting between tasks, been told that mobile technology is overwhelming our minds, discovered new terms like 'micro moment’. Through 2016, consumers will be increasingly conscious of the need to manage their selves and minds, and retailers that respond with positive, immersive experiences will be rewarded.

The trick will be to shift away from multiple stimulations and allow people to feel immersed in a single activity – helping them to stop worrying, forget consuming and savour a single, worthwhile experience. The most obvious incarnation of this trend surrounds mindfulness, as evidenced by the astonishing growth in adult colouring books and digital detox retreats. We’re seeing a rise in smart devices aimed at helping us relax, such as the Spire mind and body tracker that alerts the user to changes in their state of mind (Tense, Calm, Focussed) and encourages breathing exercises. But mindfulness is emerging in more active forms – 3D video for virtual reality devices will enhance playtime through more intensity and immersion.

The implications for retail brands are potentially huge. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, a multitude of major players revealed their 2016 virtual reality (VR) innovations, such as the HTC Vive - giving us further insight into a future full of transformational, immersive shopping experiences. The ‘Lowe’s Holoroom’ already demonstrates how homes can be created from the shopper’s imagination. With the snowballing popularity of wearable technology, consumers are being primed to enter these new virtual environments - the real test will be converting synthetic experiences into real-world purchases.

For more insights on how retail brands are tapping into the growing customer need for immersion and other drivers of modern shopping, please click here


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