Keeping up with technical, transformative shifts in generational purchasing behaviour is a major headache for most Retailers. It's just one of the challenges in the reality of New Retail with which they are having to contend not just to improve margins and grow, but increasingly merely to survive.
The challenges surround the key contemporary trends in 2018 Retail of customer conversion, retention and profitability combined with ongoing cost and overhead management, digital transformation and operational shrink detection and minimisation. And increasingly we're finding great traction when innovation can address more than one of these areas at the same time. It's not difficult to understand why, of course - it simply means that financial return on investment can be shortened by delivering business value across multiple areas simultaneously. We call it the Layered Use Case effect.
One area of massive interest is Biometrics. Hitachi's FingerVein solution uses the veins of a live finger to determine identity, matching real time pulsing blood and haemoglobin content with a previously-registered vein profile to perform any number of use case examples. As with all IoT (Internet of Things) devices, it's what you do with the data the device generates that delivers business value - and with FingerVein the value can be enormous.
The Costcutter trial focuses on biometric payment but the technology can be used in other Retail areas too. What better way for a customer to record Loyalty points, for example, one which immediately negates loyalty fraud? Or employee/associate time and attendance log-on - no more 'ghost' sign-ins on behalf of an absent colleague. Think about back-office, stockroom and even warehouse operations and the monitoring/restricting of access to high-value goods areas, waste cages or bonded stores - used in conjunction with CCTV it's now possible to actively record who and how many people enter and use such areas with 100% accuracy, doing away with today's identity swipe card systems which leave Retailers open to multiple types of fraud. How about a centralised, automated and totally dependable key cabinet integrated with FingerVein access to provide both security and, at the same time, a system of record for key check-out/check-in? For the true forward-thinkers there's even Blockchain Payment solutions.
The beauty of this powerful, flexible technology is that it's already being used in some highly sensitive, high-value financial situations such as international money transfer authentication. The Costcutter trial is proof that the Retail world is ready to reap the benefits of biometrics, too - and at Hitachi, we've got the references and Use Cases to prove it.
The humble Costcutter supermarket at Brunel University in London has recently become home to a biometric payment system that allows customers to check out with a tap of their finger.