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Transforming retail through facial recognition technology

In the dog eat dog world of retail, it has never been more essential to stay ahead of the competition in your understanding of the customer.

We repeatedly see articles bemoaning the death of the high street, however studies rarely show dramatic decreases in footfall for the sector as a whole, proving online shopping has not totally conquered the in-store experience. People haven’t stopped buying, they just shop in different ways.

As a customer navigates a retailer online, every click and interaction across the website can be tracked. In a brick and motor store, often the customer is only registered at point of purchase, with basic people counters offering very little in terms of actionable insight.

An ‘unknown’ customer passing through your store can only ever be a lost opportunity.

With customers demanding so much from their shopping experience in the 21st century, it is no surprise major retailers are increasingly turning to more innovative technology to bring the control, interaction and insight of the digital world into the physical shopping space.

We are used to seeing technology such as self-scanning, self-checkouts and loyalty cards in-store, but until now retailers have not had access to technology that can bring the online and high street experiences closer together, understanding the entire range of customers with parity across all channels.

Already a fixture of large airports and other transit hubs, non-intrusive facial recognition technology is the only solution accurate and dependable enough to build a complete picture of the customer in real time.

Airports use this technology to measure customer journeys and respond to bottlenecks, processing more people, more efficiently. For retailers, this technology is less about managing queues as it is about gathering customer intelligence with pinpoint accuracy, in a way that is GDPR compliant.

With a number of facial recognition cameras positioned around the store, a retailer could understand:

  • How customers navigate the shopping space, including dwell time per store.
  • The demographic make-up (e.g. age and gender) of customers.
  • How demographic fluctuations in-store correlate to factors such as seasonal changes and marketing activity.
  • Early indications of shoplifters and other blacklist individuals.

Taking the technology to the next logical stage, retailers could also use facial recognition to target loyal customers from the moment they enter store and upsell. If, when a customer enters a loyalty scheme, they could take a photo of themselves and upload this to the retailer’s app, discounts and personalised messages could be sent to them the moment they enter the store. This would not only reward customer loyalty but also allow you track the in-store behaviour of your core customer base.

With a ten year pedigree in the world of aviation, MFlow is the world’s most accurate way to understand people on the move. If any of these benefits could apply to your retail organisation, get in touch today.

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