By: Jesse Davis West January 22, 2019

An ever-increasing number of big box, grocery stores, pharmacies and other retailers are using face recognition technology to radically reduce shrink and prevent violence. This increased adoption lines up with D&D Daily publisher Gus Downing’s 2017 prediction that face recognition is on “an inevitable path to retail adoption.” Based on the momentum we see in the industry, all major retailers will be using face recognition to improve security as well as customer experiences.  

From speaking to our customer base, here are five key reasons why hundreds of store locations across the U.S. have installed facial recognition technology. 

Crime Prevention is More Cost-Effective Than Crime Solving

Face recognition offers something that no other retail security technology does: the ability to prevent crimes from happening. At FaceFirst, we do this by instantly recognizing the moment documented organized retail criminals enter a retail store and alerting in-store security. Retailers tell us that it’s far safer and more effective to offer customer service to these criminals, thereby preventing the crime, than hoping that you catch them in the act.  

Strong ROI

Facial recognition offers the fastest and most significant return on investment of any retail technology. Our system begins paying for itself on day one. The moment our customers populate their facial recognition database with images of dishonest customers, they can begin preventing crimes. Every time our facial recognition system recognizes a dishonest customer, it instantly alerts loss prevention professional, empowering them to prevent a crime. By allowing loss prevention to prevent retail crime instead of simple reacting after crimes have occurred, our system can quickly and dramatically impact external shrink. Our customers often see a payback on their initial investment in less than six-months, and after 1-2 years see an ROI that vastly exceeds any other retail security technology. 

Safer Stores

According to The D&D Daily, there were over 424 violent deaths at retail stores last year, and this year has seen a marked increase in violence so far. Our customers have seen a steep correlation between theft prevention and violence prevention. It makes sense, since violent retail incidents usually occur after a dishonest customer steals merchandise. But our customers often deter these individuals from stealing by closely monitoring them and offering them what I call “aggressive customer service.” This has resulted in up to a 91% reduction in violent incidents. 

Operational Ease

Our customers have told us repeatedly that one of the main reasons they like using facial recognition is because it is so easy to install, train and operationalize. Our team spends a lot of time ensuring that our customers are up to speed on best practices for camera placement, enrollment, database curation, and customer privacy. We’ve distilled some of our most impactful operational secrets into this guide aimed at maximizing ROI. We’ve also just released a new version of our retail surveillance solution, which we call Sentinel-IQ that offers more flexible deployment options and reduces infrastructure cost by 80%. 

The Network Effect

network effect face recognition

The Network Effect in action

One of the most important benefits of facial recognition, which is driving adoption is something we call the network effect. We recently conducted a study proving that dishonest customers routinely strike multiple locations within the same brand. But facial recognition helps stores create an efficient threat intelligence network across hundreds or even thousands of stores. By easily sharing data across disparate locations, facial recognition provides retailers with the opportunity to maximize shrink reduction.  

For these reasons and many others, we expect to see thousands of additional retail locations adopt facial recognition over the next 12 months. And as those retailers who do adopt facial recognition begin reporting shrink numbers that are dramatically lower than those who do not, Gus Downing’s prediction about face recognition’s inevitability across the retail sector will quickly come to fruition.