Large retailers are developing facial recognition technology for stores that will recognize frustrated and unhappy customers. Walmart has applied for a patent in this technology area with the thinking that it is easier to retain an existing customer than acquire new ones through advertising and promotion. The software will recognize an unhappy customer and ping an employee to go the area in the store to help the customer. One of the biggest problems in retail is attempting to learn of customer satisfaction as close to the purchase or shopping experience as possible. Unfortunately, too many retailers rely on monthly sales data where declining sales means customers are lost.
The notion that it is easier to retain customers than find new – is true for most forms of retail including convenience. While loyalty cards continue to develop with chain retailers, the independents need to offer superior and more personalized service to keep existing customers. There is nothing like a friendly face with a warm greeting when coming into the store!