If you’ve ever known a shoplifter, you’ve probably noticed that he or she has a tendency to hit up the same stores over and over until those victimized retailers either nab the shoplifter or do something to make theft more difficult. It would make seem to make sense then for Walmart to deploy a facial recognition program to identify known or suspected offenders. So why did the company recently give up on this sort of system?
In a story for Fortune.com, Walmart was the only major national retailer that would confirm the use of face-scanning technology.
The retailer acknowledged that some sort of automated recognition program — which would alert store personnel to the presence of a potential thief — had been tested at various Walmart stores around the country, but that the company pulled the plug on it earlier in the year.
A Walmart rep explains that the system simply wasn’t providing the return on investment needed to justify its use.
“We were looking for a concrete business rationale,” says the rep to Fortune.