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Brief Published: 17 Jul 2013

Checkouts Respond to Shoppers’ Moods


Russian cosmetics-based retail chain Ulybka Radugi has piloted a facial recognition device that identifies consumers’ emotions and delivers personalised discounts in response.

Developed by Russian tech start-up Synqera, the point-of-purchase touchscreen device Simplate features a camera capable of identifying a range of emotions on the face of the shopper standing directly in front of it. This information is synched with data from the store’s loyalty card scheme (such as personal information and purchasing histories), as well as the contents of their shopping basket, to present a tailored deal. For example, it could offer a ‘pick-me-up’-style reward if it detects a shopper’s low mood.

Synqera believes showing sensitivity to customers’ emotional states via the device will help nurture consumer loyalty.

Positioned at cashier desks and self-service checkouts, Simplate also doubles as a contactless payment terminal, thanks to in-built NFC (near-field communication) functionality. However, the fact that it only assesses mood once a consumer is on the verge of paying (and leaving) suggests there’s more mileage to be made by reassessing where on the shop floor the device should sit.

Facial recognition technology is already a valuable tool in analysing consumer behaviour. NeoFace in Japan plugs into existing CCTV systems to recognise customers, while motion-sensing Shopperception (US based) tracks movements in-store. It has not, until now, been harnessed to give immediate feedback to shoppers.

For more on the new tracking and recognition technologies allowing retailers to better respond to consumers, see SXSWi: Retail and also The Science of Recognition, which explores its broader implications on advertising, gaming and product design. Also see our Future of the Store industry trend, publishing this autumn.