Checkout Counter Senses Your Mood, Makes Shopping Suggestions

You're smiling. How about some red lipstick to make you look even happier?

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Courtesy of Synqera
Courtesy of Synqera

Ulybka Radugi, one of Russia’s largest cosmetics chains, wants to know how you’re feeling today.

But only while purchasing its products. The makeup chain is partnering with marketing tech firm Synqera to install cameras and emotion recognition software at the checkout counters of its 280 locations to determine customers’ moods.

(MORE: How Police Use Facial Recognition Software to Identify You)

Coupled with the shoppers’ purchase records and loyalty card numbers, Ulybka Radugi is hoping the data will help create tailored campaigns for its customers. At checkout, the platform, Simplate, scans and read customers’ facial expressions, combines that data with the shopper’s shopping tendencies (taken from the loyalty card) and sends the information to a database. Then it creates custom promotions the store can offer individual customers either at the counter or through mobile apps, SMS or email.

A Synqera spokesperson explained to TIME how the system works. Say a woman isn’t smiling. By accessing her loyalty card, it knows she frequently purchases body care products. To help turn that frown around, the new technology can suggest a relaxing body oil or another self-treatment product. Additionally, Simplate might display a funny picture on the checkout screen or offer some extra loyalty bonuses or discount.

The marketing campaign is focusing on Russian women, who typically shop at Ulybka Radugi, but Synqera is broadening its options by opening a New York-based office. As Fast Company points out, facial recognition technology may be coming to U.S. stores soon. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission released a report last year detailing the best practices in emotion-reading analytics, looking at ways to protect children while also reading customers’ expressions at the checkout counter. The program officially launched this month, and Synqera tells TIME it’s planning to install the first devices in pilot stores by the month’s end.

MORE: Smile for the Camera: How Gadgets Can Better Measure TV Ratings

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