Facial recognition software comes to loyalty
Rick Ferguson, Editor-in-Chief, Wise Marketer Group
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from The Wise Marketer, a website and newsletter serving the global loyalty industry.
Cali Group, the holding company that owns California restaurant chain CaliBurger, is piloting facial recognition software to recognize loyalty program members in-store.
AI-enabled self-ordering kiosks leverage NEC’s facial recognition software to identify registered customers and immediately activate their loyalty accounts as they approach in-store kiosks. Customers need not swipe a card or type in identifying information. The system can display the customer’s favorite historical meal packages, enabling the customer to complete the ordering transaction in a matter of seconds.
If well received, the kiosks will roll out to all CaliBurger’s locations in 2018. Payments through facial recognition will be added this year, as well.
“Face-based loyalty significantly reduces the friction associated with loyalty program registration and use; further, it enables a restaurant chain like CaliBurger to provide a customized, one-on-one interactive experience at the ordering kiosk,” said John Miller, CEO of Cali Group, in a statement. “Our goal for 2018 is to replace credit card swipes with face-based payments. Facial recognition is part of our broader strategy to enable the restaurant and retail industries to provide the same kinds of benefits and conveniences in the built world that customers experience with retailers like Amazon in the digital world.”
Facial-recognition technology is more pervasive in Asia, including Alibaba’s fintech subsidiary Alipay’s launch of facial-recognition payments in KFC restaurants in Hangzhou, China. The KFC platform isn’t quite as frictionless as Cali Group’s platform, as the system requires customers to enter a cell phone number to help guard against fraud.
Privacy watchdogs remain concerned about facial recognition software. Mr. Miller tells Gizmodo that CaliBurger won’t be storing images of people, but a “unique digital fingerprint of the face itself and not any image or other identifiable information.”
He added, “We do not generate any new visual data that is not already being captured by CCTV’s (Closed-circuit televisions) in retail locations around the world.”
Unlike many surveillance cameras, CaliBurger customers also opt-in to the facial recognition experience, and do so willingly in exchange for rewards.
- Facial recognition software comes to loyalty – The Wise Marketer
- Cali Group Demonstrates Face Based Loyalty Program Pilot In Its Restaurant Operating Division – Cali Group/PRNewswire
- Burger Joint Teams Up With Surveillance Giant to Scan Your Face for Loyalty Points – Gizmodo
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Could facial recognition technology create as big a leap forward for loyalty as it might for payments? Are there steps retailers may have to further take to alleviate privacy concerns?