How biometrics will transform the brand experience

Biometrics in retail CSC Blogs

Picture this: You’re browsing a retailer’s site on your mobile device and come across the perfect lamp for your living room. It’s the right color, style, price – and best of all, it meets the threshold for free shipping. Score!

You click and add the lamp to your shopping “cart,” but then realize you don’t have your credit card handy – or the time to grab it. You move on to another website, leaving the perfect lamp in shopping cart limbo.

Chances are, you’ve done this. In fact, it’s estimated that 56% of all mobile transactions are abandoned, and the number is even higher (60%) in the retail/apparel sector. Slow loading times and poor user experience are often to blame.

If you’re a shopper, this means missing out on a great product. If you’re the retailer, it means missing out on sales with 3 of every 5 of your mobile customers, leading to missed revenue opportunities.

Unfortunately, this is just one challenge retailers face today. Another big one is the chasm between digital sales and physical stores. Too many companies have zero visibility into brick-and-mortar customer behavior, which ruptures the all-important omnichannel experience. To explain, when a customer is browsing the physical aisles of a store, most retailers have no idea who she is and what she’s shopping for. With this data, the store could target the customer with special pricing and sales – perhaps for the very lamp she almost bought online.

There is a solution, and retailers are starting to understand the potential. It’s biometric technology that can identify a person based on face, voice, fingerprints, eye prints and other unique characteristics, all while being integrated directly in branded mobile, online and store applications.

Rather than a single factor, such as a PIN number, password or credit card number, biometric traits can be used and combined to provide robust user authentication. Identity authentication, then, becomes something the customer always has with them, opening up a frictionless mobile experience and uniting the physical and digital worlds in retail.

Retailers stand to reap great benefits with the adoption. An easier checkout process could dramatically reduce shopping cart abandonment for mobile customers. Increased security could reduce the transaction traffic sent to high-cost payment solution providers. And customer data could be collected in the online and physical worlds, which could lead to improved decision-making and marketing.

The benefits for consumers are numerous as well. Shopping now becomes a convenient and customized experience, no matter the channel. Brand loyalty can be efficiently rewarded, as retailers gain a clear view of customer transactions and preferences. Perhaps best yet, inconvenient passwords can be eliminated, and payment transactions handled in a more customer-friendly, yet secure manner.

The biometric shift is happening.

According to CSC Research, 25 percent of UK retailers are testing facial recognition software in stores. To make the transition work, retailers should look to experienced integrator partners to help them adopt new technologies. Execution must be flawless, and consumers need to be educated along the way. There must be an increase in revenue, a reduction in costs, while ultimately giving customers a frictionless buying experience.

Right now, biometric technology is a differentiator. Companies that use it to improve customer experience can achieve a market advantage. And in addition to solving today’s pressing retail challenges, the technology paves the way to a future just now coming into view with the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT promises an exponential increase in digital transactions and, in our view, will be huge for retail. But central to its success is the ability for retailers to authenticate customers with a frictionless solution. Biometric integration in IoT will bring a new wave of disruptive technologies to customers and companies. Devices will drive transactions via wearable technology and also, for the first time, through machine-generated purchases.

Moving to biometrics now is a key way for retailers to not only execute their business today with mobile authentication solutions, but also prepare for the next big disruption coming in three to five years. It’s exciting stuff, and something we’ll be discussing more in future blogs.


Christiana Petrou is a Principal Consultant at CSC delivering retail industry thought leadership within Consulting UK, I, NL. She is a regular retail blogger. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Todd Hawkins is the Global Director of the ConfidentID™ Practice for CSC, and has deep experience in the field of biometrics, mobility & identity management. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

RELATED LINKS

How technology answers the retail challenge

CSC World: The New Face of Biometrics

Does analytics improve the customer experience?

 

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