Most consumers open to retail biometrics as alcohol vending machines ruled legal in Florida

Most consumers open to retail biometrics as alcohol vending machines ruled legal in Florida

A company from South Florida is planning to deploy an automated beer and wine dispensing system that uses biometrics to verify customers are of age, after an appeals court ruled the devices are legal, writes New Haven Register. The news comes just as new market research shows consumers are ready to embrace biometrics for retail purchases, along with voice, mobile and VR payment technologies.

La Galere wants to roll out the service in its self-service food stores at high-end residential properties in the state. The company had initially asked the Department of Business and Professional Regulation about adding alcohol to the establishment, but the state argued it was illegal. An appeal with the First District Court of Appeal ruled the devices were in legality with state law.

“We are predominately focused on the development and operation of gourmet, self-checkout food marts,” said Rashid Siahpoosh, owner of La Galere. “This initiative came about as a direct result of some requests from existing customers to have access to beer and wine.”

The dispenser “not only addresses, but exceeds the current method of age verification,” Siahpoosh said. “We’re making sure we address all the regulatory concerns of the state.”

Siahpoosh said the alcohol dispensers would not be installed in commercial and in student apartment buildings, and they would only be available to people residing in the buildings where they are installed.

“With our age verification, we go above and beyond what the state requires,” Siahpoosh explained. “We have additional methods of making sure that we address things like fake IDs. We basically take underage drinking to 0.0 percent,” he said. “You could be 90 years old and come into our store and if you’re not in our system, you’re not going to be able to buy anything.”

According to a recent study by Wirecard, meanwhile, as many as 68 percent of consumers would use biometrics to make in-store purchases, while 45 percent said biometric payments and cashier-less stores are among top technologies that enhance their shopping experience.

“Our research has found that the ‘mass market’ of shoppers are now ready to use and adopt innovative new technologies that will improve their in-store shopping experience and make it as easy as possible for them to purchase products in the way that best suits them,” said Markus Eichinger, EVP Group Strategy at Wirecard. “These technologies are no longer gimmicks or only used by early adopters, yet many retailers are failing to listen to their customers and keep up with their demands. At a time when brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to compete with online sales, combining payments with other technologies is a fundamental step in adding value for customers.”

When asked about what technologies could make their shopping experience more convenient, 71 percent were somewhat or very interested in using an app for self-checkout purchases, 65 percent would be interested in a smart mirror that lets users view or add products to the shopping cart without a checkout, 61 percent were interested in unmanned stores and VR features.

Geographically, Malaysia, Thailand and Brazil were the most willing to embrace new technologies, while the U.S., Australia and France were less open to using them.

Wirecard claims biometric payment methods would be a great addition for retailers, as 66 percent of respondents would use biometric data to make online purchases and 68 percent would use the technology in-store. As many as 89 percent of Thai consumers would embrace this payment option compared to just 53 percent of Germans. The same study found that when biometric payment authorization is involved, customers would spend $56, with the price dropping if biometrics were not used.

Voice-assisted shopping is also gaining consumer interest with 57 percent agreeing to use voice-enabled devices for an easier shopping experience, while 44 percent would trust voice-assisted payments for weekly shopping. This payment method was very popular among Thai consumers (92 percent), while only 38 percent of Australians, for example, would trust it.

If a physical store does not support mobile phone purchases, 44 percent of global consumers would no longer shop in that location.

Even though they are in store, 74 percent of consumers still research products before purchasing them, either on a phone app or the store website, 72 percent would use in-store screens and 60 percent would use VR.

“A long way from being far-fetched gimmicks, our research shows that there’s a definite appetite for Virtual Reality, voice-assisted shopping, and cashier-less stores. Something needs to change if retail wants to revive footfall in physical stores. The research is there – greater integration of technology is what customers want. Retailers should instead embrace technology, in the same way the modern shopper has,” said Eichinger.

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