High street stores in Japan have implemented facial recognition software in an attempt to provide better service to VIP customers and potential big spenders.
NEC – the Japanese technology giant and California-based FaceFirst are offering systems that can recognise people’s faces via strategically placed cameras at the entrance of a store.
When these cameras spot important existing or potential customers, the program then sends a text to the appropriate staff member, alerting them of the VIP’s presence in store, allowing the sales staff to provide a more personal service.
Joel Rosenkrantz, FaceFirst's chief executive explains: "Someone could approach you and give you a cappuccino when you arrive, and then show you the things they think you will be interested in buying,"
Of course the big question is; how does the software know who you are? The program would need access to existing photographs of these customers. But how?
Mr Rosenkrantz offers a solution: "You can easily get pictures of famous people, and you could get the pictures of other potential customers from Facebook. If a particular brand has 10,000 likes on Facebook, you could use the profile pictures of all the people who have liked it."
"You can tell customers that if they agree to enrol [their face] with their camera, then they will be offered a discount coupon when they walk into the store, or get them to tick a box saying they agree that their picture can be used when they log on with Facebook."
Originally designed to alert stores of known shoplifters, claiming to reduce stock shrinkage by 25%, FaceFirst has opened up a veritable treasure trove of possibilities for marketers.
This type of technology could be used for online retailers. Users could volunteer a picture of their face or sign in with Facebook in exchange for certain benefits or discounts, making conversions quicker and the need for log in details obsolete.
Facial recognition software is currently being used by Tesco throughout their petrol stations, targeting their ads to the appropriate consumers as they fill up their cars via digital signs. The digital signage company owned by Lord Sugar, Amscreen will use facial recognition software to identify a customer’s approximate age and gender and present them with appropriate ads. Amscreen will not collect or store images or information, but will allow advertisers to reach their demographic quicker.
This type of technology could be the start of something great - combined with the likes of the iBeacon it could be the greatest thing to happen to advertising.
For more information on how to target your demographic online contact the online marketing experts at Hit Search today on 0845 643 9289.