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Walmart Developing Facial Recognition Tech to Spot Upset Patrons

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is developing technology that will monitor customers' facial expressions to detect frustrated or unhappy shoppers, Business Insider has reported.

The technology uses video cameras at checkout to identify “varying levels of dissatisfaction,” and will notify employees in other parts of the store, ordering them to report to a checkout register and attempt to alleviate distress, the news outlet said. Understanding that it's easier to retain existing customers than trying to acquire new ones through advertising, Walmart hopes the new solution will help stores be proactive in responding to customers' issues before they have a chance to complain.

Additionally, the technology will allow for analysis of trends in shoppers' purchasing behavior over time, the patent filing revealed, which will help stores detect changes in purchase habits due to dissatisfaction.

This isn't the first time the Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer has tested such technology, Business Insider noted: Walmart trialed facial-recognition technology in 2015 to detect shoplifters and prevent theft, but abandoned the program, which proved ineffective.

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