Biometric vending machines draw $20M investment as retail app launches facial recognition
Age restricted purchase protections appear to be a growing use-case for facial biometrics, judging by a funding announcement and an app update.
A $20 million sales financing line has been extended to Emerald Organic by Alliance Funding Group to fuel the commercialization and growth of its proprietary facial recognition vending machines, according to a company announcement.
The combination of Emerald Organic’s vending machine technology and the exponential growth in the market for its core cannabidiol (CBD) products position the company to expand its market share, and it will seek partnerships to deliver its machines for health and wellness products in other geographies.
Emerald Organic acquired biometric vending machine company Bezalel’s Jewelry to deploy its product with facial recognition to enable compliance with age and identity restrictions.
“We are excited to partner with Emerald as they execute on their go-to-market strategy with their tech enabled vending solutions,” Alliance President Brij Patel says. “We’ve partnered with various early stage OEM’s to provide a competitive leasing solution to help them gain market share and are truly excited about what we can do with Emerald moving forward.”
A facial recognition feature has been launched to an app from retail tech company Ubamarket to enable customers to purchase alcohol and other age-restricted products in automated retail locations with biometric pre-approval, The Drinks Business reports.
The app also enables retailers to offer personalized discounts to customers based on their shopping history, and provides loyalty points, guidance to the shelf location of products, and product information.
A previous version of the app, in use by SPAR, Londis and Warner’s Budgens stores in the UK and Ireland, was adopted and re-used by 92 percent of customers, the company says, with in-store purchases increasing by 21 percent.
Ubamarket CEO Will Broome acknowledged the challenges faced by retailers, but dismissed the notion that high streets are dying.
“In my view, it all comes back to the experience. If the physical store does not offer an attractive experience and compelling money-saving opportunities, the customers can fall back on e-commerce,” Broome says.