Biometrics are big news at the moment. The UK Convenience Store Group recently approved the use of biometric age verification for the sale of age restricted products such as lottery tickets, fireworks, knives, tobacco and alcohol; Carrefour is trialling facial recognition in Paris as a way to offer register-less shopping and a new start-up is looking at the use of fingerprints as the new loyalty card, to name but a few of the applications that are currently being explored.

Biometrics are not just for verification, the opportunity for retail marketers to use biometrics as a customer experience tool is enormous. For instance biometric software can personalise shopper’s experiences by applying emotion analysis. The application estimates the age, gender and facial expression of customers as well as what they are looking at. Potential benefits include information on customer demographics, the popularity of store sections as well as the identification of VIP customers who can be served compelling offers in real time.

As footfall continues to fall in-store, smart retail is increasingly being looked at as a way to create a more engaging, omnichannel experience for customers. But there is one stumbling block. Research from Paysafe shows that over a third of consumers do not want to grant organisations access to their personal biometric details because of the rise in data breaches. Over a quarter of people are concerned that their biometrics could easily be cloned and used to commit fraud.

So whilst biometrics can significantly enhance the customer experience there is a value exchange at play. Retail brands are going to have to convince customers that they will protect their personal information or they will miss out on the opportunity that biometric data can afford. To do this the back-end system will be absolutely critical. Understanding how to securely collect, process and maintain biometric data in a GDPR compliant manner will be critical. For further about what biometric data potentially means for your data management system or customer data platform don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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Dave Gurney

CEO, Alchemetrics - Expert in Data & Digital Marketing
enabling senior marketers to value from engaging customers online.