Measuring Emotional and Neurological Responses with C+R’s New SmartPulse

Filed Under: Shopper, Shopper Insights, Advertising Testing, Eye-Tracking, Neurological Immersion, Path to Purchase, Product Testing, Shopper Journey, UX (User Experience)


Brendan Sanok

Senior Analyst, Communities & Panels

At C+R Research, we are constantly on the search for better and smarter ways to help our clients deeply understand what’s in the hearts and minds of consumers. One question that comes up frequently is how to uncover the tacit behaviors of consumers, going beyond what is stated or expressed, to gain a deeper understanding of their decision-making.

C+R’s research team is excited to introduce a new technology we call SmartPulse, powered by Immersion! This tool uses wearable devices like fitness trackers or smartwatches to measure users’ attention and emotional engagement in an experience.

How Does SmartPulse Work?

Using an app that pairs with a wearable device, SmartPulse measures neurological data from the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This helps us predict actions and measure emotional and psychological safety (how comfortable, confident, and ready people are to absorb and share information) in any experience. We then turn all that data into a tangible value called an “immersion score” to better understand how engaged users are. A higher immersion score means they were totally captivated and engaged, while a lower score means their brain was tuned out.

What Does SmartPulse Measure?

When people are fully immersed, they tend to be in a more positive state of mind. SmartPulse helps us identify which experiences are most positive and captivating for shoppers, consumers, and users. It also measures psychological safety. A higher psychological safety score means they are in a good headspace to make meaningful choices. You will have access to a dashboard where we collect and present this data, giving you overall performance, highlights, and second-by-second details.

A Test Use Case: Using SmartPulse in Conjunction with Eye-Tracking

We put SmartPulse to the test to better understand shopper behavior at shelf by conducting an internal study with 20 participants who wore eye-tracking devices and wearable health trackers with the SmartPulse partner app on their phones. The assignment was for the participants to go on a beverage shopping spree for a small gathering. To maintain consistency, they were required to shop at the same store. We also had them explore an unfamiliar category for another basis for exploration.

We were pleased that the findings provided compelling actionable insights that highlighted the tool’s capabilities. Specifically, by using SmartPulse, we found that shoppers were most absorbed when they actively engaged with positively unique packaging and clearly labeled signage, indicating high levels of immersion. Additionally, shoppers felt most “safe” when they were shopping in a familiar category but felt less “safe” when navigating unfamiliar sections of the store.

Benefits for Using SmartPulse to Enhance Shopper Insights

SmartPulse has many potential uses to better understand attention and engagement at shelf from an emotional and cognitive perspective. Some uses include:

  • Help with optimizing product placement,
  • Improving store layout and navigation,
  • Finding the best ways to display advertisements, and
  • Providing deeper insights into the entire shopping experience.

We are excited by the many possibilities for SmartPulse! Click here for a quick overview of SmartPulse, or please reach out if you’d like to learn more about how to use it in your next research project.

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