Biometrics in retailing

David Hillier, Daphne Comfort, Peter Jones, Peter Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to offer a preliminary assessment of the potential role for biometrics within the retail sector of the economy. Design/methodology/approach – The paper begins with an outline of the origin and characteristics of biometrics and this is followed by a review of the possible retail applications and an outline of the current barriers to widespread adoption. The paper draws its empirical material from trade sources available on the internet. Findings – The findings reveal that biometrics has a number of potential applications within retailing including combating identity theft, increasing transaction speed at the point of sale, reducing transaction processing costs for retailers and the development of more individually tailored marketing and customer loyalty systems. However, a number of major barriers need to be overcome if biometrics are to become an integral part of the retail scene. These include acquisition and installation costs, doubts about the accuracy and performance of biometric technologies and public concerns about personal privacy and civil liberties. Originality/value – The paper offers an accessible review of the potential application of biometrics within retailing, which will interest academics working in retail, business and management and information technology departments in universities and colleges and students studying in these disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217 - 222
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • biometrics
  • privacy
  • retailing


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