Tesco 'to scan customers' faces'

Tesco petrol stationTesco is set to install hi-tech screens that scan customers' faces in petrol stations so that advertisements can be tailored to suit them.

The retailer will introduce the OptimEyes screen, developed by Lord Sugar's Amscreen, to all 450 of its UK petrol stations, in a five-year deal, according to The Grocer.
The screen, positioned at the till, scans the eyes of customers to determine age and gender, and then runs tailored advertisements.

The technology also adjusts adverts depending on the time and date, as well as monitoring customer purchases, The Grocer said.

The screens are predicted to reach a weekly audience of more than five million adults.

Simon Sugar, chief executive of Amscreen, told the industry magazine: "Yes it's like something out of Minority Report, but this could change the face of British retail and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible."

Privacy campaigners say the system puts forward a "huge consent issue".

Nick Pickles of Big Brother Watch said: "Scanning customers as they walk through the store without customers ever giving permission for them to be scanned in that way... There's a huge consent issue there."

Mr Pickles said facial recognition technology is getting more advanced all the time, adding that you could be queuing to pay for groceries and a CCTV camera could be "literally scanning who you are".

He said companies and stores using this system must tell their customers.

"If people were told that every time they walked into a supermarket, or a doctor's surgery or a law firm, that the CCTV camera in the corner is trying to find out who they are, I think that will have a huge impact on what buildings people go into," he said.

Mr Pickles said the only way the systems can be ethically deployed is if consumers opt in to have their image stored and their behaviour tracked, rather than there being no choice in the matter.

Seven of the craziest supermarket glitches
See Gallery
Tesco 'to scan customers' faces'

One of the most popular glitches, was a wine deal at Tesco back in November 2012, where a series of offers clashed, leaving a bottle of £9.99 wine selling for £1.50.

The 'three wines for £10' deal apparently clashed with a '25% off when you buy six or more bottles' deal. The 25% was accidentally taken off the original price rather than the reduced one, leaving the wine at rock bottom prices. Deal-hunters cleared the shelves around the country.

Perhaps the most popular glitch from Tesco came in June 2011, when instead of taking £4 off the cost of a £20 case of beer, the supermarket accidentally started selling the cases for £4. The ensuring rush was nicknamed the 'beer stampede'.

Sadly not every supermarket pricing glitch comes with such a happy ending for consumers. In March last year the bargain-hunters thought their luck was in, when Tesco accidentally priced the new iPad at just £44.99 instead of around £650. Sadly it spotted the mistake before shipping the goods. The small print on its website meant it could refuse to sell at this price, and refund their customers instead.

In September 2012, Asda was responsible for one of the most expensive glitches. The Asda Price Guarantee offered vouchers to customers who could have got their shopping cheaper elsewhere.

However, when certain trigger products were in the basket, the supermarket massively under-priced the shopping at other supermarkets, and offered huge vouchers to shoppers. In many instances the vouchers came to roughly the same as the cost of the shopping.

In April, a mistake on their website resulted in Tesco selling 8 packs of Bulmers cider 568ml bottles for £5 - rather than a six pack for £8.

Deal-hunters snapped up the deal online, and had varying degrees of success. Some had their order delivered in full, others had six delivered for £5 - and were able to negotiate their way to another two, while others were offered six for £5 or their money back.

October last year saw one of the most famous glitches, when Tesco Terry's Chocolate Oranges were subject to two deals at the same time, and the price dropped from £2.75 to 29p. There were plenty of people getting chocolate oranges last Christmas.

A buy-one-get-one-free deal went awry at Tesco in March. People putting four tubs of I can't Believe It's Not Butter or Oykos yogurt packs into the trolley were only being charged for one.

Soon the online deal-hunting community was in action, with one person bagging 50 tubs of butter and 22 pots of yogurt for £8.79 - a saving of £133.89.


Read Full Story