Facial recognition will transform the retail experience for customers and colleagues alike. Over the next few years, this technology will improve security, reduce waiting times and open up a whole new world of personalised shopping. Adapting to these changes will be challenging, but we’re here to make the transition as smooth as possible.
The new face of technology
Things move fast in the tech world. In a few short years, facial recognition technology (FRT) has gone from being a futuristic novelty to a part of daily life:
- 70% of governments now use facial recognition on a wide scale
- 80% of countries use FRT for banking, and 40% use it in the workplace
- The facial recognition market was worth $3.8 billion in 2020, and is expected to grow by more than 15% a year between now and 2028.
While FRT is still mostly found in public spaces such as airports and banks, retailers are starting to get on board too. UK stores were initially slow to adopt the technology, but we are now beginning to see a steady growth in its use:
- Co-op uses facial recognition for security purposes in 35 of its stores
- Tesco, Asda and Morrisons are all planning to implement age-estimation technology at self-checkouts
- Aldi already uses age-estimation technology in its checkout-free Shop&Go stores
A retail revolution
It’s no surprise that stores are keen to embrace this technology. FRT has a wide range of potential applications, covering every aspect of retail:
- Smart CCTV cameras can use facial recognition to spot persistent shoplifters. This allows security teams to take action as soon as they enter the store. Security can address the person by name, creating an effective deterrent. Facewatch, a leading facial recognition security system, has been shown to reduce theft by 35%.
- FRT can prevent fraud by authenticating payments at self-checkouts. Age-estimation technology can also speed up the ID process for sales of alcohol and other age-restricted products.
- Facial recognition can be linked to loyalty programs. If customers agree to share their data, you can greet them with personalised offers and recommendations.
- FRT can even gauge customer mood. This will allow you to spot flaws in the customer experience much more effectively than if you were to carry out a satisfaction survey.
Making FRT work for you
FRT promises a bright future but, as with any new technology, there are bound to be teething troubles. The biggest challenge will be integrating facial recognition technology with your existing systems, and this is where we can help.
Our Notification API lets smart devices send updates directly to colleagues via their VoCoVo headsets. Combine this with FRT and you’ve got a recipe for success:
- Smart cameras can send automated alerts to a specific conference. This means that security colleagues can be alerted if a camera spots a potential shoplifter. These messages are completely discreet, allowing the security team to respond without tipping off the suspected criminal.
- Headsets can be linked to self-checkouts. If age estimation technology flags up a possible underage purchase, colleagues can be called to perform an ID check.
- Colleagues can be alerted to problems as soon as they begin to cause frustration among customers. If FRT spots a lot of impatient faces, colleagues can be called to open another checkout.
These are just a few examples based on the current capabilities of facial recognition. As the technology grows more sophisticated, so too will its applications in retail. Whatever the next phase looks like, we’re confident that our Notification API will keep you firmly in control.