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The use of facial recognition in retailing is perhaps the most valuable of the financial justifications primarily because the industry is so large and losses are measured in thee billions of dollars. One specific application involves the use of the technology to match customers against a file of known shoplifters as they enter the store and if a match is made, to alert the loss prevention personnel.
The retail applications can be summarized as follows:
Absolutely no intrusion into the shopping experiences of customers not in the bad guy data base.
A reliable way to acquire and refine images to give the retailer the best possible chance of alerting store personnel to the presence of a security risk.
An easy way to update the files with new images when new risks are identified.
Infrastructure for constructing files at the store level, the regional level or the national level either for a specific retailer or for an industry group that decides to cooperate.
There are valuable applications that proactively record the images of return and refund customers that does not even require their identifications and only identifies people who make frequent returns. These people are often undetected because they cleverly shoplift and then return goods with their original tags to the same stores; especially stores which have liberal return policies.