Biometrics, methods for uniquely recognizing humans based upon one or more intrinsic physical or behavioural traits, is very important when evaluating the efficacy of a retail store design or display and assessing counter actions to make the retail environment more customer friendly. According to NY Times, IBM is currently testing a revolutionary biometrics method in two location in downtown Milan – a fashion company flagship’s store and an electronic store.
The I.B.M. solution, involves tracking biometrics through a mini camera in a mannequin’s eye or placed somewhere in a store and the collected data will be aggregated so that not to be traced to any individual.
“We started with fashion because it is a creative and innovative industry, but it’s clear that people have to be educated so they know their privacy will not be compromised,” said Enrico Bozzi, the manager of I.B.M. Forum Milano, the department that developed the technology. “It is a question of changing people’s perception.”
The IBM biometric test is already showing its first results. At the pilot in the Milan fashion store, for example, the client noticed that almost all Asian customers enter the store through one particular door, even though five are available. “We thought it was a mistake, but we checked it out and it was right and it continues to happen,” Mr. Bozzi said. “We don’t know why yet but, in the meantime, the store is considering positioning products by that door that are known to appeal particularly to Asian shoppers.”
I.B.M.is now also working on software that will let clients try on jewelry and makeup wirelessly thanks to a mobile phone or computer, with an iPad application likely to debut soon.