Time For a Retail Bio Break
Retail POS and payments methods are rapidly breaking from the past. Merchants and consumers alike are seeking a replacement to the old checkout process that is faster, more secure, and more convenient for customers. New technologies are stepping up quickly to meet those demands on both sides of the retail counter.
The covid pandemic forced retailers to seek new operational procedures due to unforeseen labor shortages and new hygienic mandates. Smart retailers met those challenges by embracing a host of new retail ordering and checkout methods. Merchants added more self-checkout lanes, self-ordering kiosks, SoftPos contactless payments and a seemingly limitless supply of light blue face masks for their employees. Leading edge merchants (Amazon’s Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh and others) went beyond the new checkout procedures and introduced the convenience of biometric payments at the POS counter. Specifically, Amazon added new self-checkout lanes with contactless biometric palm vein readers called Amazon One. I believe that they stayed up all night to come up with that moniker.
Kidding aside, the Amazon One is absolutely the right technology at the right time. Biometrics is not a new identity verification technology. It has been widely used for access control, law enforcement, banking and financial transactions, healthcare, and government security applications and now retail. It has several identity verification methods: vascular palm & finger, facial, fingerprint, retina, iris, ear shape, voice, and others. The least invasive methods from a practical retail standpoint are palm and finger vascular scanning. The palm scanner offers the fastest and most reliable method for retail. Historically, the luddite argument against finger scanning is that seriously dumb bad guys would cut off your finger and use it to commit their ID fraud. Using the same misguided thought process, palm scanning would mandate cutting off your hand which would be a whole lot messier and more difficult to carry around.
The Amazon One device is both sleek in appearance and ergonomic. It requires a brief customer registration process that includes entering your identity information, scanning your palm, and linking the information to a payment method that gets scanned as well. If you already have an Amazon account (and who doesn’t) it takes perhaps 90 seconds to get enrolled at the customer service counter or self-checkout lane.
Retailers that use this biometric technology can enjoy other benefits at and beyond the retail counter as well. These benefits include faster customer throughput, age verification, access control, rapid customer onboarding, loyalty programs, self-service ordering & payments, and at the customer service counter for quick returns. Smart merchants also want to collect relevant sales data that helps them provide a better customer experience and deliver personalized future offers predicated on purchase histories.
The palm scanning biometric use case for consumers is equally compelling. Personalized coupons and discounts, special event invitations, and no more journeys to the bottom of your handbag in search of your payment card. And no more fumbling for a card in an overstuffed wallet. Simply hover your hand over the Amazon One scanner and out the door you go!
This article is all natural and contains no artificial ingredients!