Tencent Cloud Blog

Facial recognition in Chinese retail: Top use cases

 

China is leagues ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to facial recognition technology. While other countries’ applications for facial recognition remain squarely in the realm of the theoretical, China-based companies like Tencent Cloud and its parent company, Tencent, have developed real-world use cases.

One of the most promising areas for facial recognition software innovation is the retail industry. The convergence of advanced technology, mobile platforms and consumer commerce makes retail ideal for facial recognition applications. Tencent Cloud and Tencent have been responsible for some of the more remarkable developments of this technology in China’s retail sector. The top use cases highlight both facial recognition software’s immediate benefits and massive future potential.

 

Accelerating the personalized shopping experience

Facial recognition applications have the potential to both provide a more personalized shopping experience while also removing many of the frustrating in-store delays that can occur. Tencent Cloud has helped highlight the technology’s capabilities in the retail space by working with one of the world’s premier beauty product brands, YSL Beauté.

Fashion events offer fantastic opportunities for YSL Beauté to engage with its customers and provide a more personalized experience. However, the sheer popularity of such occasions often resulted in excessively long wait times, limiting the number of attendees who could participate.

When planning a product launch for its new Mon Paris Couture fragrance in Hong Kong, YSL Beauté wanted to address these concerns and maximize the number of brand devotees who could enjoy the event without diminishing the experience.

Attendees logged into WeChat before the event and uploaded their photos to create a unique ID to use during the launch party. They could also design a personal engraving ahead of time to customize their perfume bottle. Once customers arrived at the event, an interactive panel scanned their faces for verification and then arranged the images and design they previously created and engraved them directly into the glass.

“We are very proud to collaborate with WeChat and Tencent Cloud, to introduce the first one-stop beauty service integrating facial recognition technology in Hong Kong – a one-of-a-kind shopping experience that surpasses traditional shopping model,” YSL Beauté Brand General Manager Niki Lo said before the April event. “Putting the consumers as the central focus, innovates beyond the product with a revolutionary-engaging consumer experience.”

Facial recognition software allows brands to provide this kind of personal experience while also reducing the amount of time needed to service each individual customer. The scope of YSL Beauté’s personalized engraving offering would have been impractical at a large scale. With Tencent Cloud’s facial recognition capabilities, however, many more customers could be helped in much less time.

 

Smart retailer makes clothing recommendations

Luxury brands and fashion retailers build their reputations around unique customer experience. In particular, store staff are expected to provide expert advice, helping customers choose clothing, shoes, jewelry and other accessories that match their sense of style and complement their physical features.

Thanks to the development of advanced software algorithms and artificial intelligence systems, computers have gotten much smarter in this regard and are capable of giving relevant recommendations to shoppers. The linchpin to this functionality is facial recognition software to provide virtual assistants with the criteria needed to assess a person’s appearance and determine what fashion items would best suit the individual.

Tencent has worked with Denmark-based Bestseller Fashion Group to develop two smart fashion shops in China. These intelligent stores offer automated virtual assistant services, giving fashion advice to customers by simply scanning the contours of their faces.

Once a shopper’s face has been scanned, the smart system searches the retailer’s databases to find clothing that would look good on them. If the customer agrees with the selection, they can choose to try the item on or use the WeChat application to buy it outright.

Shoppers can also elect to join a bestseller facial recognition club, which allows them to make purchases at the automated stores simply by having their faces scanned by facial recognition software. Although China has been one of the leading innovators in cashless payment platforms, using facial recognition tools represents a significant step forward beyond digital currency and mobile payment apps.

 

Meet heightened expectations as your company enters China

With Tencent Cloud’s extensive managed services and advanced technology as a platform for development, the applications for facial recognition in China are virtually endless. From creating personal shopping experiences to making transactions more seamless, effortless and instantaneous, Tencent Cloud is helping retailers take their operations to new heights.

China continues to be a leading force in facial recognition innovation, and the technology will quickly become a fixture of everyday life. Any organization looking to expand into China’s retail market will need to account for these heightened technological expectations. Tencent Cloud’s extensive array of cloud-based solutions and direct access to the Tencent ecosystem helps international brands go to market in China faster than ever before.

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