The Consumer Neuroscience of Phygital Retail Experiences

Conference: The Asian Conference on Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences (ACP2022)
Title: The Consumer Neuroscience of Phygital Retail Experiences
Stream: Neuroscience
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Matt Johnson, Hult International Business School, United States
Robert Barlow, Hult International Business School, United States


One recent trend in business, accelerated by the pandemic, is the implementation of Phygital Retail: Consumer experiences that creatively integrate physical and digital elements. Typically, this means integrating digital sensors, facial recognition, augmented reality, and virtual reality into the physical retail environment.
Implicit in the excitement about phygital shopping is that it can provide advantages above and beyond purely physical experiences and strictly digital experiences. However, there is yet to be a mechanistic account for how such advantages may be derived. In this paper, we address this lacuna by producing a framework drawn from consumer neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and neuromarketing. We argue that phygital experiences are uniquely placed to create greater anticipated pleasure and psychological attachment during the pre-purchase phase of the consumer experience. In addition, given the implementation of certain payment technology, certain phygital environments also innoculate consumers to the psychological pain of payment. Given these influences on the consumer experience, as well as the novelty of such technological application, we close with a discussion of the ethical implications of phygital retail environments.

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