Every single day it is obvious: there are more and more screens in stores, malls, store windows, gas stations, supermarkets... Is retailing the future of Digital Out Of Home (DOOH)? Screens are often installed where posters used to be, they steal the show. Switching from print to digital signage makes it possible to change messages on the fly, according to day part: it is a better business model for sales reps.
With screens, retailing can take advantage of facial recognition technology. The principle of this technology is to compare the features of people watching a screen with a large database of faces in order to determine their age and sex. Since no image is ever captured by the sensor (no picture or video taken), privacy is not an issue. To make things even more clear, the store informs customers and passers-by that there is a survey going on concerning contacts with the screen: they can easily opt-out...
Facial recognition is an unbiased technology, exactly what is needed for advertising and marketing research to qualify and measure audiences (cf. Allied Market Research). In certain situations, this technology allows a retailer to deliver an adapted advertisement, so called personalized, at the right time. But this should be used very cautiously: facial recognition could be perceived as creepy if used to recognize a shopper (as a former shopper or as a high-value shopper cf. Consumers' attitude to retails in-store personalization tactics). Too much targeting kills marketing!
Why use screens in retailing?
|Facial recognition by EIKEO (for demonstration only). |
From left to right:
Female, young adult ; Female, young adult ; Male, older adult
Number of contacts with the screen
Screens in retailing can be used both for branding and for point-of-sale promotion. Location of the screens in point-of-sale is of course decisive, it should be optimized according to the customer's path in the store.
As always with outdoor advertising, the golden rule in real-estate holds true: "location, location, location!". Advertising in retailing is based on context targeting: screens put advertising a few feet away from where products and services can be bought, right away.
Combining facial recognition with retailing brings a source of rich data for stores as well as for advertisers; also, it is a precious contribution to global in-store analytics. Facial recognition is not intrusive at all: no declaration, only observation.
What data is collected?
- How many contacts with the commercial in a given period of time
- Here we are talking about verified, real contacts; this is different from traditional OTS (Opportunity To See), used for lack of any better solution by outdoor advertising (OTS based on declarations of a sample of passers-by, intercepts).
- Qualified contacts
- Male / female, age brackets
- Context, proximity
- Which part of the store: the screen is precisely located, aisle, shelf, product (facing)
- Time of day and place
- Which city, which neighborhood (socio-economic data)
- When: day of the week, season, weather, sales, holidays, promotions, traffic
- Dwelling time
- Exact time spent watching the screen (attention, attractivity)
- Deduplicated audience of a screen
- Cumulative audience and, if necessary, average frequency
It is exactly what advertisers need and what they don't get currently from the usual measurements, whether TV, radio, print or outdoor, all of which are satisfied with opportunity to see, opportunity to hear, to read, etc. Of course, with facial recognition, there is no doubt about viewability, as opposed to web advertising.
Last but not least, facial recognition for retailing is perfect to check and compare creative solutions (A/B testing).