Wal-Mart is developing facial recognition technology that's able to spot frustrated or unhappy shoppers in its stores. Business Insider reports that the technology uses video cameras and store checkout lines that monitor facial expressions and movements to determine varying levels of dissatisfaction. If the system detects an unhappy shopper, it will ping employees in other parts of the store and order them to report to a checkout register, in the hopes of alleviating consumers’ distress.
"It's easier to retain existing customers than acquire new ones through advertising," the patent filing for the facial recognition technology reads. "Often, if customer service is inadequate, this fact will not appear in data available to management until many customers have been lost. With so much competition, a customer will often simply go elsewhere rather than take the time to make a complaint."
Total Retail’s Take: Facial recognition technology, although a bit creepy in my opinion, will allow Wal-Mart to respond more efficiently to customer service issues — even before a customer actually complains. This is an in-store advantage for Wal-Mart, as it could prevent shoppers from taking to social media to complain about a bad experience with the retailer. Furthermore, getting the extra help a shopper needs without having to ask for it is a personal touch that e-commerce can’t offer.