The future of retail: fingerprint biometrics

David Orme, Senior Vice President at IDEX Biometrics ASA

The need for fingerprint biometrics in retail has become increasingly important. Retailers are acknowledging that survival on the high-street is reliant on their ability to deliver convenient, memorable and personalised customer experiences. Innovative customer service fuelled by data insights to help retailers provide direct, tailored customer relations, has never been more crucial.

Nonetheless, just as loyalty schemes are becoming a necessity for the success of retail, hackers are increasingly seeing these programmes as prime targets.

Loyalty rewards are effectively a form of currency; many can be used to purchase physical goods once enough points have been collected, and can have comparable value to cybercriminals. So, like bank accounts and payment forms, they require strong authentication. Fingerprint biometric smart cards are the answer to securing loyalty accounts and optimising the retail experience in a challenging environment.

Authentication using fingerprint biometrics

The key to captivating the modern shopper lies in a combination of convenience, experience and incentive, and this applies to merchants of all sizes – loyalty programs are very helpful in this pursuit However, when loyalty accounts are taken over by criminals, the effects can be costly to customers and retailers alike. Often, hackers achieve such crimes because most loyalty accounts (which may hold a high monetary value when used) have zero forms of authentication.

Biometrics, especially fingerprint technology, are now the gold standard for authentication. Given the extent to which loyalty schemes now function as a currency, doesn’t it seem common sense to apply the same level of security to in-store loyalty points? What is more, customers will be drawn to those retailers who offer greater brand differentiation through fingerprint biometric smart cards for payments and loyalty programs, as they will be assured of the personalised and customised nature of each transaction, strengthening their trust in the retailer.

The perfect pair: payment and loyalty

Taking this concept even further. retailers who offer both credit cards and loyalty cards could differentiate themselves from competitors by combining payments and loyalty schemes into one card, all protected by fingerprint biometrics. This solution enhances security and convenience, increasing a consumer’s loyalty to the retailer and provides reliable and secure behavioural data which the retailer can use to enhance customer retention. Ultimately, when a consumer trusts the retailer, they are likely to spend more.

A personalised experience

With the growing popularity in online shopping, consumers expect a convenient and personalised experience in all shops. By creating a home for everything — payment, ID, loyalty points — on a single fingerprint biometric smart card, merchants can assure clients of their commitment to personalisation and gold standard security, as well as providing convenience and a tangible reason for customers to return.

Having a single fingerprint biometric card for everything brings shoppers and retailers together, unlocking the potential for an aligned customer experience and giving retailers a fighting chance of success during a turbulent time for the sector.

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