How To Grow Your E-commerce Business With Face Tracking Software?

How Face Tracking Software Can Benefit Your Online Business?

Due to the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic around the world, many brick-and-mortar stores were forced to shut down until the moment social distancing measures are over.

In such a situation, companies need to invest in digital technology to continue to operate and offer improved customer experience. It’s a unique opportunity to get closer to the customer, just when it's needed.

Face tracking software, an important and very innovative part of modern digital technology has greatly benefited our everyday online lives. Customers can try on virtual makeup, accessories and jewellery to get an idea of how the actual product would look on them in the real world. Marketers can use this technology to get analytical data on how users perceive different sections of the mobile app or an online store. Online businesses can take advantage of it to create more meaningful advertising campaigns, engaging more and more customers. 

This article is going to discuss what face tracking software is and how retailers can use it to successfully run their businesses online. We'll begin with a consideration of the current state of the retail industry. The article will then be preceded by explaining what the face tracking software is and how it works. We will then go further and give you some insights on how face tracking technology benefits e-commerce retail businesses. This article will be closed by giving readers some examples of the retail company's applications which are already utilizing the power of face tracking technology for the companies' advantages. Lots of things to cover, so let's get started!


What is the Current State of Retail Industry?

The closure of many well-known brick and mortar store chains such as Toys R Us and Sport Chalet after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have led many to claim that the retail industry is currently experiencing a recession. The truth is that it is in the process of adapting to evolving customer behaviour and current economic events across the world. Not all retailers can act fast enough to survive but the most innovative ones who will be able to move their businesses from offline to online are likely to have a bright future.

More and more retail businesses are encouraging their customers to use modern technology. Many of them are already taking advantage of face tracking, AI and CRM technologies to create the retail stores of the future and ensure the customer will have a unique and fun shopping experience. 

But what is face tracking technology and how does it work? This is what we're going to discuss next.


What is Face Tracking Software and How Does It Work?

Wikipedia defines face tracking software as a technology that identifies and tracks the presence of the human's face from a video stream. Face tracking software is also capable of counting the number of people in a video frame or live video stream, determining the direction in which a face is looking and recognizing facial impressions, the person's skin colour and mood. The technology can be integrated into web or mobile devices and function both online and offline.

The face tracking software works in the following way. The device's camera equipped with the latter functionality captures video images that are transmitted to the face tracking software which then uses the AI algorithms to detect faces. Once they are detected, the software starts to follow the movement of the human's face within the video stream, analyzing its characteristics such as head pose, eyes' movement and state, facial expressions, skin colour and much more.

By detecting a face in the camera, face tracking software extracts landmarks i.e. key facial features such as eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth, chin and so on. The more landmarks are detected, the more accurate the face recognition and tracking process is going to be. There are more innovative approaches. Banuba, a computer vision lab that develops face tracking software which instead recognizes 37 face characteristics represented as morphs for the default face mesh, including 30 parameters with facial expressions and anthropometry plus 7 parameters that describe the position of the face. The latter method provides much faster performance and better accuracy, reduces jittering and can help optimize the mobile application's performance for low-level mobile devices.

What can be the benefits of face tracking technology for an eCommerce business? The next section will give you some of the reasons why companies may adopt this technology for their retail businesses.


How face tracking software empowers retail business?

Reason 1. Increased customer engagement

The company's engagement with its customers may come in many different forms. This can be exceptional customer service, personalized product offering and the use of positive and emotional stories about the company. This all is likely to drive growth and foster customer loyalty.

The use of face tracking gives companies one more tool for achieving even better results when it comes to customer engagement. This highly-interactive technology enables the creation of unique digital experiences for example in the form of 3D product visualization, interactive AR advertising and much more. Therefore, face tracking software makes the shopping process much easier and more enjoyable.


Reason 2. Enhanced conversion rates and decreased product returns

In comparison to the situation of buying products from traditional brick and mortar stores, buying things on the Internet involves one major disadvantage which is the fact that users cannot see and try-out the things they want to buy. Thus it's often difficult to make a purchasing decision without actually seeing the product's virtual 3D model with your own eyes. Face tracking technology can be a useful instrument to illuminate this problem.

Interactive 3D product visualization functionality offered by the face tracking software will give users an ability to see how a particular product from the cosmetic, beauty, fashion and other industries would look on their body. Once the user finds the product that matches his or her preferences, he or she will likely be more confident about the purchase. This, in turn, is likely to lead to a significantly lower product return rate due to better customer satisfaction — a win-win scenario for both companies and their customers.


Reason 3. A better understanding of customer behaviour 

Another advantage of face tracking software is that it can help companies collect useful customer information which does not only include basic demographic data but also their behaviour including the customer's facial expressions while visiting different sections of the online store. This gives retailers some useful insights about their online businesses that may require some improvements to enhance customer satisfaction.


Reason 4. Attracting new customers

According to Business Insider, the Gen Z individuals have a potential spending power of over $140 billion which represents an attractive profit opportunity for many retailers across the world. They are known to be spending a lot of time on the Internet, often taking advantage of modern technologies to do their activities faster and easier compared to the previous generations.

This is where face tracking may come into play. The use of such a modern and yet not fully exploited technology may position an online retailer as a forward-thinking company that may be used as an additional competitive advantage.


Reason 5. Faster buying process

Last but not least, the use of face tracking software may help online shop owners make the checkout process faster. Regular customers could register for a store membership simply by using their faceprint. This enables a faster and easier store rewards collection process when the customer visits a website on multiple occasions. 

The face print functionality can also be used for the automatic payments at the checkout which illuminates the need for having many employees to manage the actual payment and delivery process.


5 examples of using Face Tracking Technology in E-Commerce

Sephora's Virtual Artist app

One of the examples of using face tracking technology in E-Commerce is Sephora's Virtual Artist. This application allows female customers to try on and then buy the makeup product(s) that looks best on them. This unique try on functionality significantly contributes to an improvement of the shopping experience for women who enjoy buying different cosmetic products with just a few clicks of the mouse. It brings that much-needed confidence to the consumers' hearts since they have already ‘tried on’ some cosmetic products themselves and are likely to have chosen the one they like. All thanks to the power of face tracking technology.


Wardy Parker's virtual glasses try-on

The fashion industry has also used the power of face tracking for its advantage. As it is the case for many other industries, using the latter's capabilities allowed fashion brands to gain a broader audience to their fashion events, campaigns and eventually products.  

A nice example is Wardy Parker's mobile app that uses AR and faces mapping technology to enable users to try on virtual glasses online.


Laura Lively app for virtual necklace try on

This application allows female users to see how well a particular necklace would match their evening dress.  The technology segments a person's neck and maps virtual jewellery on top of it.


Lenskart Virtual Glasses Try-On

Face tracking software can also be used to create virtual 3D avatars. Lenskart, an Indian optical prescription eyewear retail chain offers its customers a mobile application which allows them to create 3D avatars to virtually try on any frames and glasses. This functionality gives customers a better idea at how the frame will look on them in real-time leading to more informed and confident purchasing decisions.


Timberland's Virtual Fitting Room

Last but not least, face tracking software can be used to let users try on different clothing and accessories without entering an actual physical store. The respective solution was created in Moktow Gallery in 2014 by an American manufacturer and retailer of outdoors wear Timberland. Timberland’s virtual fitting room allowed shoppers to see an image of their face, and a similarly-sized model body, in different outfits.


Face tracking software is still a relatively new type of technology. It will take time for many companies to fully find out how to use it effectively. But the long-term financial and security benefits mentioned in this article make it clear that this could eventually be a game-changer for the e-commerce industry. Therefore, It’s about time for many online businesses to jump on the Face AR bandwagon and start using its benefits.