L'Oréal uses EEG headset to recommend fragrances based on customer's emotions

Our sense of smell is deeply connected to our emotions. Any scent can trigger a feeling. No wonder choosing a new perfume can be overwhelming. To streamline the process, L'Oréal is going straight to the source of those emotions: the human brain.

Working with neurotech provider EMOTIV, L'Oréal has developed a new way for consumers to select fragrances. At flagship Yves Saint Laurent stores, customers put on an EEG headset that records electrical activity from all cortical lobes of the brain. A YSL consultant then guides them through various fragrance families, tracking their neural responses to different smells and narrowing in on the scent that's best suited to their emotions.

According to Stephan Bezy, International General Manager at Yves Saint Laurent Beauté: "Through this immersive system, we were able to get 95% of people the right fragrance personalized to their needs and desires, which is enormously higher than without this technology. It's a huge first step in this category. Once we know which scents make people feel happy, energized, or other emotions, we can customize fragrances even more."

YSL's EEG-enhanced consultations will roll out in multiple countries later this year and in 2023.

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Neuromarketing has chiefly been used in focus groups, helping marketers and product managers gain insights by studying a test subject's neural responses to a new campaign or flavor.

Now, L'Oréal and EMOTIV are taking neurotech out of the company lab and onto the store floor. Instead of predicting group behavior based on a small sample, YSL's retail experience taps directly into a single customer's unspoken preferences.

As the price of equipment drops and AI takes on the role of a skilled analyst, neurocommerce is coming within reach. For it to take off, consumers will need to feel comfortable 'having their minds read' by brands. They'll also need to be convinced of the technique's advantages. One potential benefit? Better consumer-product alignment could decrease buyer's remorse, wasting less money and fewer resources.

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