The potential of facial recognition technology in retail is in its infancy of discovery. While some stores like Wal-Mart have piloted it as a means to track down shoplifters, the technology has even more capability to optimize the retail experience for customers.
In China, Alipay already uses facial credentials for authorizing electronic money transfers. Meanwhile, Chinese developer Face++ has developed facial recognition tools for local governments and transportation businesses for security purposes. Before long, the same tools will be integrated into the payment systems of restaurants and retailers. This means that when it’s time to pay, a simple face scan is all that’s needed.
But the facial recognition technology has the power for much more than making a single transaction easier. Businesses can use it to streamline the use of dossiers for individual shoppers that tracks purchases (meaning no further need for paper receipts), as well as loyalty points and rewards in the form of discounts and other special opportunities.
In other words, the era of having to carry around loyalty cards for every store (or having to remember the email address or phone number associated with these cards) may soon be over. Through a simple scan of the face, everything about someone’s experience with a retail store could be accessible.