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Bold Commerce and Wink partner to power entire checkout experience with biometrics

Bold Commerce and Wink partner to power entire checkout experience with biometrics

Today, Bold Commerce has announced the launch of its biometric checkout offering, powered by biometric identity and payments provider Wink. Now shoppers can securely authenticate with their face and voice to unlock a more personalized shopping experience.

A customer who uses the biometric checkout can authenticate with their face or voice biometrics on their phone to automatically fill in pre-saved information like login credentials, shipping details, rewards accounts, and payment preferences including card, digital wallets, direct bank payments, and buy now, pay later. This is distinct from other biometric retail solutions that authenticate solely for the payment portion of the checkout experience, the companies say.

“Bold enables the personalization of checkout,” Peter Karpas, Bold Commerce CEO, tells Biometric Update in an interview, which also included Wink CEO Deepak Jain. Retailers “can create multiple kinds of checkout flows, depending on the consumer,” Karpas says. “If a consumer wants to use biometric authentication, which is faster and easier, they can. If for some reason it’s not going to work for them that day,” due to environmental factors like lighting that may interfere with face authentication, “then they just use a different checkout flow.”

In an era where many retailers use a combination of brick and mortar and online stores, Bold Checkout’s omnichannel service can be implemented in-store, online, in-app or any combination a retailer would like.

“It is going to be attractive to retailers who have an e-commerce experience, a mobile experience, and in-store experience,” says Wink CEO Jain in the interview. “They can identify their shoppers even if they’ve enrolled online, but they walk into the store. Or they can implement experiences like ordering on the app and picking up in store and quickly and accurately identifying the person picking up.”

While other products in biometric retail require the addition of new hardware, such as the Amazon One palm readers of the Just Walk Out system, which also requires the installation of weight-measuring shelves as well as a variety of cameras, Bold Checkout with Wink can be installed with existing hardware in-store or through a customer’s device at home.

The use of something like palm biometrics requires a specific device for palm readers, which “almost guarantees the customer must be in-store. There’s very few purely in-store merchants,” says Karpas. “They all have websites. So a technology that is purely in store is by definition less flexible.” For those trying to checkout on a mobile device “a biometric solution is a superior solution.”

The checkout system can be implemented using any camera that can read a QR code, which reflects Wink’s commitment to being device agnostic, making adoption substantially easier.

To use the checkout feature, customers can input their biometrics into the system by granting permission for Wink’s software to use the camera on their phone, taking a few snapshots of their face, and speaking 3-5 words according to a prompt.

Shoppers using the system can checkout 3 times faster than its traditional counterpart, the partners say, which can increase sales by mitigating abandonment due to friction.

The checkout process can reduce fraud and maintain the integrity of the shopping experience in a few ways. First, it replaces passwords, which are notoriously insecure, with biometrics. Notably, it can also identify bots and scalpers and stop them in their tracks.

“You may have heard of retailers trying to drop a new product and poof, it’s gone. All the bots took it and real humans didn’t get it.” said Jain. “Being able to prevent those types of bad experiences for loyal shoppers are all use cases that biometrics help accomplish in addition to making it faster and more secure.”

Retailers can also utilize the system’s features to cater to different kinds of customers. The impulse shopper can enjoy a shorter checkout process, while the loyalty shopper will have easier access to coupons and rewards.

Bold Commerce’s software can also identify budget shoppers based on their previous purchases, cart history, and whether they navigated to an online page through an Instagram ad, among other things, to strategically offer coupons that facilitate building bigger cart loads and boost sales. For those trying to purchase age restricted products, they can use Wink’s age verification software.

Additionally, the system may be used to offer customers in-store pickup if they’re shopping online but their address is within a specified distance from a brick and mortar store.

When it comes to keeping biometric data secure, Jain says Wink’s software is compliant with all major regulations. It doesn’t store any raw biometric data anywhere and instead converts data from the user’s face, voice, and device into vectors that are made anonymous and stored in Wink’s cloud as templates. When a user authenticates, their biometrics are broken into vectors and compared to the vectors already stored.

Wink manages biometric data, while any other data a retailer collects through the Bold Checkout system belongs to the retailer and neither Bold nor Wink. Retailers can elect to use an API from Wink to give users the option to have their data deleted, though if a retailer falls under data regulations like the GDPR, it would be required to offer such a feature.

The partnership between Wink and Bold Commerce is part of the Build with Bold partnership program. Wink is Bold’s first biometric provider.

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