Antavo

Loyalty and technology business Antavo is debuting in-store kiosks equipped with facial-recognition technology this spring.

The kiosks are 22-inch touch screen devices with light and motion sensors that aim to attract shoppers’ attention. Then, depending on the retailer, the kiosks can provide anything from styling advice from in-store inventory to games and promotions, according to Antavo cofounder and chief marketing officer Zsuzsa Kecsmar.

The kiosks are empowered by Apple’s NFC technology, which allows customers to quickly tap their phone to the device to gain access to the different experiences a retailer has adopted for their space. That technology shares customer data with the retailer, which can use that information to provide a better experience to the shopper, Kecsmar said.

The ultimate goal, Kecsmar says, is consumer engagement, though some experiences do guide shoppers to become part of a retailer’s loyalty program.

“[Retailers] want to engage the people who go to the store — it’s an added benefit that they will be part of the loyalty program, but the loyalty program is just another method to engage these people,” she said. “Companies want to know their customers better, and they want to segment data better, and they want to send customers to these people in all the channels where they are present — this kiosk helps to achieve this.”

When the kiosks were being tested, consumers asked for Antavo to add-in facial recognition technology, Kecsmar said. “If you look at the kiosk, then it’ll recognize you and you need to dial a pin,” she said. “Shoppers want convenience over privacy and this is what we need to understand as technology entrepreneurs. Sometimes it’s hard to believe, but this is where the future is going.”

For shoppers, the biggest benefit is personalization, Kecsmar said.

Using the kiosk doesn’t mean customers are automatically signed up for the loyalty program, she said, noting that styling options can be done without joining.

“There are clothes listed, and you can browse from hats and then sweaters, skirts, dresses and shoes, and you can tap all these items. It’s a real-time thing with the store’s inventory — and you can try these on,” Kecsmar said.

But other offerings, like a “treasure hunt,” would guide customers to the loyalty program. That offering gives shoppers a specific item to search for, turns their phone’s camera app into a barcode reader and once the item is found, offers a reward. “In order to enjoy the reward, this is where you need to enroll, with a tap,” Kecsmar said.

Antavo expects kiosks to start rolling out this spring, though Kecsmar declined to say which retailers had already signed up. The business is set up at NRF this week.

Antavo has been providing software-as-a-service loyalty technology for retail, fashion, beauty and lifestyle companies since it was founded in 2012. The business’ clients include PepsiCo, Jimmy Jazz, the N Brown Group an AB InBev.

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