Walmart wants to monitor shoppers' facial expressions
Walmart is coming off an 11-day rally, it's longest since 1995.
In the future, Walmart shoppers may not have to ask for help. Just a simple scowl could summon a helpful worker ready to assist.
A recent patent filing suggests new ways the nation’s top retailer wants to get even closer to its customers: a video system that a system keeps tabs on customers' facial expressions as they move through the store and the movements at checkout lines.
While Walmart isn't explicit about what it has in mind, and a spokesperson could not be reached for immediate comment, the system apparently envisions using video to scan for customers who are frustrated or unhappy so help can be dispatched. A shopper, for instance, might not be able to find a product or can’t figure out pricing.
Conversely, store managers could use the system to determine when they have a hit on their hands -- a display or product that delights shoppers.
In any case, the system, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal, could give Walmart an edge in its battle with Amazon, the online retailer that is eating into profits.
According to the patent, Walmart says it’s easier to retain existing customers than acquire new ones through advertising.
"Often, if customer service is inadequate, this fact will not appear in data available to management until many customers have been lost. With so much competition, a customer will often simply go elsewhere rather than take the time to make a complaint."
The technology would “allow Walmart to respond more efficiently to customer service issues, even before a customer actually complains,” writes Taylor Knight on the Total Retail blog.
“This is an in-store advantage for Wal-Mart, as it could prevent shoppers from taking to social media to complain about a bad experience with the retailer," Taylor wrote. "Furthermore, getting the extra help a shopper needs without having to ask for it is a personal touch that e-commerce can’t offer.”
No word on if or when the tech might be tested or deployed.
Add Commentall comments
UK Prime Minister Theresa May rebuked US President Donald Trump for his...
Firefighters are battling a blaze after an “explosion” near Southend...
VIEW GALLERY Chris Brown has spoken candidly about his 2009 assault on...
The chief of Lebanon's Hezbollah group is telling Saudi Arabia that...
With a sweeping cut in the number of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia,...
The latest chapter in the saga relating to Russian interference in the...