In our November 30th Headline Round-Up, we reported on a new line of bionic mannequins produced by Italian company Almax SpA. These intelligent, Big Brother-esque “EyeSee” mannequins gather age, gender, race, and potentially shopping behavior data, on customers through facial-recognition software embedded in their eyes.
While this manner of profiling is certainly interesting and could benefit retailers, the looming legal and ethical questions may trump the technology. To weigh in on this controversial issue, we turned to Dallas retailer Carley Seale, owner of Henderson Avenue gem The Gypsy Wagon (pictured below).
DFW Style Daily: Being a boutique owner, you are concerned with customer satisfaction as well as increasing your sales. What is your take on the “EyeSee” mannequin? Does this technology simply benefit the retailer or is there a benefit to the customer as well?
Carley Seale: “I know some major retailers are using different technology to track their customers like GPS and smart phones. I would never sign up for those programs, as I prefer to shop without added pressure.
“Personally, the thought of being profiled by a computer makes me want to steer clear from corporate retailers. The bionic mannequin makes sense for giant retailers with decision-makers sitting behind a desk, who are not on the front lines of retail. I think this technology could populate interesting data for retailers, but only as a small piece of the puzzle.
“The best way to understand your customers is to interact with them, not spy on them.”
(Image credits, from top: 1. TheHighLow.com, 2. Facebook.com)