Walmart Wants To Use Facial Recognition To Identify Unhappy Shoppers

Walmart Wants To Use Facial Recognition To Identify Unhappy Shoppers
Customer Retention

A new project would use cameras at the check-out counter to improve customer service

Matt Vitone
  • 25 july 2017

Walmart wants to turn your frown upside down. The company recently filed a patent for a technology it is developing that would be able to scan and identify the faces of unhappy or frustrated shoppers.

The technology would utilize cameras situated at the store’s checkout counters, tracking changes in facial expressions and movements to identify when a customer is unhappy. The system would then alert employees of the situation and instruct them to report to the checkout register to help the customer in need.

Aside from tracking customer behavior, the technology would also keep a record of customer spending behavior. Using biometric data collected from customers’ facial expressions, Walmart would link changes in mood to changes in spending. The company says in the patent that this would be an asset in helping to retain customers.

“It is easier to retain existing customers than acquire new ones through advertising,” the patent filing reads. “Often, if customer service is inadequate, this fact will not appear in data available to management until many customers have been lost. With so much competition, a customer will often simply go elsewhere rather than take the time to make a complaint.”

If a sharp drop in spending is recorded after a customer is seen with a negative facial expression, then the company would be able to better deal with the pain points that are driving away shoppers.

This is not Walmart’s first go-around with facial recognition. In 2015, the company used similar technology in an attempt to curtail theft by detecting shoplifters.


+Customer retention
+customer service
+Facial Recognition

More in retail


How Target Is Aiming For Same-Day Delivery

Target's recent deal with Shipt means it wants to compete with other same-day delivery companies

15 December 2017

How Amazon Is Building Experiences Atop Digital Infrastructure

PSFK's Future of Retail Report unpacks how the online retailer is building physical experiences on top of its existing digital platform to adapt to the expectations of a new generation of consumer

15 December 2017

The Latest


PSFK is proud to host a special half-day conference with expert speakers on new opportunity in brick & data retail

January 17, 2018 | New York City

Wearable X CEO Billie Whitehouse spoke to PSFK 2017 about designing wearables for all five senses and maintaining a sense of humor

September 27, 2017
No search results found.