By: Jesse Davis West August 20, 2019

Customer loyalty matters. According to Fundera, 43% of customers spend more at retail brands that they’re loyal to, and a full 65% of retailers’ business comes from existing customers. Simply put, retail brands that don’t invest in transforming shoppers into loyal customers are going to lose out on a lot of revenue. The good news is that customers are naturally inclined to be loyal. In fact, 84% of U.S. adults are loyal to their favorite retail brands. 

Since it is so important for retailers to win their customers’ loyalty, savvy retailers are constantly looking for ways to improve loyalty programs. More retailers have been turning to technological innovations to improve loyalty. Some businesses, like Starbucks, successfully implemented loyalty programs into their mobile app. But perhaps the most significant retail loyalty technology is facial recognition. Facial recognition software offers some powerful advantages over existing retail loyalty technology. 

Here are five ways that facial recognition can transform customer loyalty.

Say Goodbye to Phone Numbers

How many times have you told a stranger your phone number at a grocery store? For most people the number is in the thousands. This is not only time-consuming, it’s intrusive. But facial recognition can automatically recognize customers who opt into a loyalty program during checkout, without requiring them to give their phone number to a stranger. 

Personalized Rewards

Loyalty programs often reward customers with discounts. But facial recognition systems can help retailers offer more targeted and relevant discounts. While retailers often have fantastic visibility into shoppers’ preferences when they shop offline, this visibility usually ends when a customer walks into a store. However, by using a facial recognition customer experience platform, retailers can keep track of customers’ buying preferences and offer better rewards. 

VIP Service

Customer loyalty facial recognitionOne of the best ways to enhance loyalty is by offering white-glove service. Facial recognition can be used to instantly recognize VIP shoppers the moment they walk into a retail store. Customer service personnel can then be alerted to their presence with contextual details that empower them to offer better service. As an example, imagine that a VIP shopper who is a vegan walks into a clothing boutique. The moment she enters the store, the customer service professional could get an alert in real time, revealing her past buying history and a note not to offer any leather items. Face recognition is ushering in a new era of customer service that is sure to drive loyalty for retailers who embrace this technology. 


When Warren Buffett heads to McDonalds for breakfast every morning, he oscillates between his three favorite orders. But a lot of customers are far more routinized than Warren, ordering the same Grande Nonfat Vanilla Latte or Egg McMuffin or toasted onion bagel with cream cheese every time they go to their favorite retail food chain. Facial recognition could enable these people to opt into a program where their order is started the moment they walk into a store. 

Skip the Line

One of the best ways to ensure customers stay loyal is by removing friction from their buyer journey. No one likes waiting in line. And allowing customers to skip lines is one of the best ways to earn loyalty. Stores like Amazon Go have brought the idea of “just walk out” technology into the mainstream. And facial recognition offers a means to allow customers who opt in to purchase goods and skip lines by using their face. 

It’s likely too early to definitively declare facial recognition as the magic bullet solution for generating customer loyalty. However, this technology has barrels of untapped potential for retailers looking for new ways to transform customers into repeat customers and repeat customers into brand evangelists.