An increasing number of retailers are using or investigating the use of facial recognition in stores. However, the consumer is not yet ready to be followed everywhere.
Retailers can use facial recognition to adjust advertising or its service to the customer's needs. In-store screens can be altered when a particular customer enters the store, but staff can also be informed about a shopper's impending birthday for example.
The technology was originally developed for police use among other things, but it has now found its way to the retail world. One of the reasons to do so is the online competition where ads are already catered to a specific user. Facial recognition would allow that technology to be transferred to the physical (retail) world. "A lot of retailers would be afraid of the backlash of being discovered,” says Bryan Roberts, a director at the retail marketing firm TCC Global told Bloomberg. “You can aggregate data anonymously, but once consumers know they’re being tracked by the shopping center, they’ll be more hesitant to come back."
That is why many retailers remain quiet about the use of facial recognition, but it is no secret there will be stores in the near future openly using the technology.