A clerk who never forgets one’s face and who happily greets the regular customers by name. The perfect personal memory that has long been an ideal in the service sector can, with modern technology, become a children’s game, and at least one store in Stockholm believes that facial recognition is what customers want.
- We do this to save the trade, says Linus Kaasik at the company that will launch the store.
Imagine that you step into a store where an automatic camera picks up your age, your gender and your facial expression – and whether you are a regular customer or not, something it recognizes. How would you react?
In any case, this is what a store in Stockholm, Sweden now wants to launch, something which, according to those responsible, should increase the competitiveness of the online store. In July, Nordic Tech House plans to open a shop with face recognition.
- We do it to save the trade, the stores have to use all available technology to be able to meet the great challenges they face, says Linus Kaasik, co-founder and investment manager at the company.
“A new type of store”
Gathering data about customers to identify consumption patterns and individualized offers is not in itself new. What is new is that the same principles are now used in physical stores in Sweden.
In the US, companies have for some time been developing prototypes for the collection and in several places it has already been time to introduce prohibitions. But in Sweden, the technology is about to re-run the legislation.
Nordic Tech House founder Linus Kaasik emphasizes that the experience for the customer will be better, and in the long term believe that the technology can be sold to other stores.
- We want to create a new type of store where you get better personal service. We want the customer to avoid queues, that the cash registers are gone and that the staff should know your name, he says.
Allows for certain risks
The GDPR Act came into force last year and regulates the collection and handling of personal data. Nordic Tech Lab says that the collection of face data is the storage of “body data”, which according to them would not conflict with GDPR.
However, the compulsion to share their data is not the question of, says Kaasik. He points out that they intend to collect consent for the collection when the customer steps into the store.
Kaasik emphasizes that they will follow the legislation that exists and say that, after all, he is positive to face recognition as long as it leads to a better customer experience.
At the same time, he admits that there are risks.We have seen that personal data can leak even at state authorities, so certainly there is a risk. But we will not sell any data further, it will only be stored locally and not in the cloud.