Biometric authentication of woman shopping for retail.

Biometrics in Retail: Beyond Loss Prevention

Retail is ready for a revolution.

Shrink is rising even as the online shopping experience is getting easier. How can brick-and-mortar stores compete? Many loss prevention experts are answering this question with the technology that’s easy to use and hard to lose: biometric authentication.

Face & Fingerprint Familiarity

Biometrics have been gaining popularity for access to everything from smartphones to building entrances. Consumers are familiar with using them and understand how they work — in fact, they’re rapidly becoming the expected standard in many industries.

As of 2021, 84% of consumers worldwide have used biometrics. While fingerprint biometrics are still the most common method, facial recognition is gaining ground, with 43% of consumers using the technology. The contactless nature of facial biometrics is particularly attractive to many organizations in our COVID-conscious world.

Lower Shrink, Increase Efficiency & Improve Customer Experience   

Consumers expect premium experiences more than ever before — long checkout lines, waiting for management approval and trying to remember which email they gave for loyalty points are often reasons to shop elsewhere. That delicate balance between offering increased convenience and keeping shrink low is difficult to achieve. This is why more and more retailers are turning to biometric authentication to meet the diverse needs of their employees and customers.

Empowered, Accountable Employees
Biometrics offer irrefutable proof of presence that reduces opportunities for internal theft. Practices like buddy punching and creating unauthorized discounts or returns can be eliminated with biometric authentication. Of course, it’s not just about preventing bad actors — with no long, complicated and ever-changing passcodes, employees can access the POS terminals faster and frustration-free. In addition, the reduced oversight of biometrics empowers employees to access secure areas and help customers without waiting for management. 

A Streamlined Experience for Consumers 
Employees aren’t the only ones enjoying more convenient and secure retail experiences. Biometric technologies like facial recognition are already used in several retail applications, such as identifying customers for loyalty programs and age-restricted items at self-checkouts.

Self-checkouts are a complicated area for many retailers. While consumers often prefer the shortened lines and streamlined experience of self-checkouts — and retailers certainly appreciate the cost savings for both training time and hourly wages — self-checkouts require a startling amount of staff interference, particularly for age-restricted items. Biometrics can significantly reduce staff involvement and its associated costs.

Getting Started With Biometrics

The move to biometrics is inevitable and welcome, but retailers don’t have to tackle entire systems from the get-go. Many retailers choose to begin by adding biometrics for systems like:

  • Customer loyalty programs
  • Employee time and attendance
  • Self-checkout kiosks

Biometric technologies like facial recognition offer retailers benefits far beyond the basics of security, from streamlining service and preventing theft to creating a more convenient shopping experience.  Today’s biometric solutions are more sophisticated than ever before — powering trusted identities with elegant, secure simplicity.  

Ready to experience the power of biometrics in retail? HID Global is here to help. Learn more about the benefits of biometrics in our eBook, Can We Get Personal? Leveraging Biometrics for Loss Prevention — And Beyond.