The Future of In-Store Advertising

Ever see the movie Minority Report? In the movie, (*Spoiler Alert*) Tom Cruise becomes a fugitive trying to prove his innocence in a futuristic world where crime is stopped before it happens. Later in the movie he gets his eyes replaced to avoid the Big Brother security cameras all over the city and takes a stroll through the GAP. As he passes the billboards in the Mall they scan his eyes to offer him tailored advertising!

At the time the movie was released in theaters this was distant future technology, but today our friends at commercetools have proved the future is now. By using Tracking.js (open source) and one of three available facial recognition API services, the commercetools team was able to successfully identify aspects of the person standing in front of them and serve a targeted product recommendation based on the facial attributes of the consumer!

It's not hard to image ad content becoming hyper targeted in the near future. Billboards in the real world will operate just like ad display networks. With each facial scan it can pull from a library of ad content AND it can record the interaction to help advertisers create more personalized ads to evoke more emotional reactions!

This will also have implications for privacy. At the end of the clip above, note that the billboard loudly announces the previous purchase of another customer as they enter the store, but the potential for embarrassment is just the tip of the iceberg. In a futuristic post-crime world, under what circumstances can data be captured in public or private spaces and with whom can it be shared? This past year saw the first court case requesting audio recordings from Amazon's "Echo" as evidence in a murder trial. After a brief stand-off, the defense lawyer agreed to hand over the recordings because it didn't hurt their client, but more cases of this nature are inevitable.

To learn more about commercetools' "magic mirror" check out their Medium post. If you consider yourself an early adopter of new technologies and want to implement one in your store, we would be happy to help.

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