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AI use grows among retail stores, New York considers biometrics for liquor sales

AI use grows among retail stores, New York considers biometrics for liquor sales

Move over passwords and PINs, retail stores are introducing new tech to help shoppers check out their goods, including biometrics and artificial intelligence.

Amazon is expanding its “pay-by-palm” technology Amazon One and its rapid rollout to numerous stores at once may give it a strong head start in biometric payments, according to trade publication Pymnts. George Hanson, senior vice president and chief digital officer at Panera Bread which has been using Amazon One palm payment technology, says that the company’s guests are continuing their digital adoption, including using their mobile phones for payments.

One of the reasons behind its fast growth is consumer demand: More than half of consumers (51.7 percent) who have used biometrics for authentication say that they prefer this method, a January report on consumer authentication preferences published by Pymnts and authentication provider  Entersekt found.

In July, Whole Foods said it will equip every one of its more than 500 stores with palm biometrics payment by the end of 2023. Back in May, Amazon One also introduced a new age-verification function but it’s also rolling out other tech to prevent minors from buying liquor.

Last week, a liquor store in Seattle called Downtown Spirits became the first in the world to use Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology. An Amazon spokesperson clarified for Eater that the technology does not use biometric information but relies on a combination of computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning to allow stores to charge shoppers for what they pick off of shelves without having to go to a cashier. Previous Just Walk Out installations have used Amazon One devices for customers to scan their palm biometrics or a payment card on entry.

Amazon is not the only entity introducing new tech to limit alcohol consumption among minors.

New York senator James Skoufis has proposed a new bill that could introduce biometric scanners in his state’s liquor and tobacco shops, StateScoop reports. Skoufis cites examples such as Seattle’s CenturyLink and Safeco Fields, which use fingerprint scans for age verification during alcohol purchases

However, the bill, first introduced in 2021, doesn’t clarify who would store the biometric data. Unlike other states, such as Illinois and Washington, New York does not have a law regulating biometric data privacy and the bill is already attracting scrutiny from organizations such as the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

Meanwhile, companies are also deploying computer vision without biometrics in shops for unstaffed retail and self-checkouts.

Retail tech company AiFi believes that we are at the tipping point for autonomous retail to go mainstream thanks to AI, Forbes reports. Its “advanced tracking algorithms” allow shoppers to purchase items in-store without having to wait in line or stop to scan or pay.

7-Eleven is jumping on the bandwagon. Its Australian stores plan to offer the My 7-Eleven App Pay and Go 2.0 which is expected to launch in 10 stores by the end of 2024. The app will be developed with Grabango and will leverage AI to enable customers the choice to skip the register, without the need to scan goods with their device, the companies said in an announcement.

7-Eleven has previously tested palm-vein authentication in its stores.

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