We can’t imagine how horrible it must be to have a famous person in your store and not even know. All that potential spending power, just being wasted on regular customer service efforts. Which is why one bit of software exists — so high-end stores can identify exactly when they have a wriggling, big-spending fish in their nets.
According to the Sunday Times (via NPR) a company called NEC IT Solutions is touting its VIP-identification technology to prevent the loss of a sale from a potential deep-pocketed customer. The company is already in the business of providing similar services to identify terrorists and criminals.
Here’s how it works: A camera takes footage of people’s faces when they enter a store, measuring those noggins and checking the resulting numerical code, a face template, against database.
The database for high-end stores would consist of famous people and other valued customers. When there’s a match in the database, the software alerts staff via a smartphone or other device. Perhaps with a loud “kaching!” noise and a flashing image of money bags?
Thus far the technology is still being tested out in unidentified stores in the UK and Far East, but it’s likely to face a bit of a privacy backlash before it goes mainstream. Customers aren’t even comfortable with stores like Nordstrom tracking them through Wi-Fi signals on phones, so it’s not a leap to guess that getting your face scanned to see if you’re worth extra effort might be an undesirable shopping experience.