Let Your Heart Decide

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to write about a biometric retail project my team and I worked on recently. The goal was to demonstrate personalization in a brick and mortar store. Research shows that measurable changes in biometrics are seen when people are presented with various stimuli. We wanted to see if such changes were measurable with current consumer-grade products.

In short, we did not get the results we wanted. It turns out, there is still too much latency in consumer-grade wearables. As a point of reference, clinical-grade heart sensors can sample upwards of 500 Hz; the Microsoft Band samples at the equivalent of 1 Hz. Moreover, because of how current heart rate bands are implemented, there could be a delay as long as 15–60 seconds before a beats-per-minute rate is shown to the user.

Nonetheless, the great part about Accenture Labs is that we explore new ideas and experiences. Hopefully, the latency will be reduced in future wearable devices and we will see this concept become a reality.

Too many choices lead to fewer sales

Overchoice is a phenomenon that occurs when people have difficulty deciding because the abundance of choices is overwhelming. When provided with too many choices under a time constraint, people prefer to make no choice at all, even if making a choice leads to a better outcome. This concept was shown in a study with two tasting tables at a grocery store. The first table with 24 jams found that only 1.8% of shoppers made a purchase, while the second table with 6 jams found that 12% of shoppers made a purchase.

Follow Your Heart

The Follow Your Heart app explores making the decision process easier and richer for customers by analyzing their heart rate and showing them which item elicited a stronger reaction.

Let’s say we have a customer named Mary who has consumer-grade products such as an iPhone and a Microsoft Band. She has spent a long time deciding between two items (scarves) at a retail store, but rather than giving up, she opens the Follow Your Heart app. The app then measures her heart rate using the Microsoft Band while she looks at one of the two items. The app is showing her pulse rate in beats per minute (BPM) and a prompt to get Mary thinking more about the item. After 30 seconds, Mary repeats the process for the second item. Finally, the results are shown and the item with the highest BPM is the item Mary should choose.

To add to the experience, we wanted the customer to have the option to create a memory of the favorite item. If Mary decided, she could take a photo of her new scarf and a watermark with the average BPM result and the company name would be added to the image. The image is then saved in her collection, where she can share it with friends and family over text or social media.

What’s next?

My team is exploring ways to make the store experience better for the digital customer. You can read about some of our ideas in a recent point of view: Connecting In-Store and At-Home Experiences.

Recently we announced a partnership with CFDA, a mentorship organization that seeks to help the best talents in the fashion industry early in their career. I’m excited to find out what innovative technologies we will bring to their Retail Lab.

Interested in hearing more?

Please contact me or my team members (Chau Dang or Dave Nguyen). To read more about Accenture Labs and our R&D areas, visit our website.