Biometrics Company Clear Brings Its Scanners to Retail Stores

Clear Secure Inc.,

an identification services company known for its expedited screening product for air travelers, is bringing its biometric sign-up scanners to locations beyond airports.

The company has temporarily installed the biometrics machines this month inside a Showfields Inc. interactive mall and at a Rimowa Distribution Inc. luggage store in New York City as well as a Rimowa in San Francisco.

Clear’s main product, Clear Plus, checks travelers’ identities at airport security using biometrics such as iris scans, and lets them skip the wait for agents to check their photo IDs. Enrollment typically begins online but customers usually must go to a Clear airport location to scan their biometrics. Annual memberships cost $179.

Clear created the temporary installations to showcase its technology more widely and to expose consumers to its products beyond travel, said

Caryn Seidman Becker,

chief executive of the company. Other products include Clear Stadium Access, a product that lets people skip long lines at sports and entertainment venues. The pop-ups are also offering Clear gift cards, a first for the company.

The company also wanted to address pent-up demand from consumers who traveled less during the pandemic, Ms. Seidman Becker said.

But the effort comes as the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 is making consumers wary again of traveling.

And the airline industry still hasn’t completely recovered from the effects of the pandemic. The Transportation Security Administration screened 20.9 million travelers during Thanksgiving week this year, for example, up from 9.5 million passengers in 2020 but still shy of the 26 million passengers it screened in 2019.

Clear has nonetheless continued to grow. Cumulative enrollments increased 58% in the third quarter, growing to 8.1 million from 5.1 million in the same quarter of 2020 and from 4.2 million in the period in 2019.

Total bookings, a measure that represents Clear’s total sales from new and renewed Clear Plus subscribers and accrued billings from partners, increased by 89%, reaching $99.3 million for the quarter, compared with $52.5 million in the prior-year period. Total bookings in the third quarter of 2019 were $65.2 million.

The Clear pop-up at Showfields, which occupies 240 square feet, is open through Dec. 31, while the company’s scanning machines will remain inside the Rimowa stores through Dec. 23. Clear has previously set up pop-ups at conferences, as well as in New York City’s Grand Central Station in 2017, but on a smaller scale, the company said.

The new pop-ups inside stores could help people become more comfortable with Clear’s biometric scanning and see the value of Clear beyond travel, said Gabriel Cheung, global executive creative director at R/GA, a digital agency owned by Interpublic Group of Cos.

“People are still kind of scared of biometrics, and they’re not sure how people are going to use that data,” Mr. Cheung said. “If they are slowly showing up in places where people understand how it’s going to be used, even in a pop-up, it is actually quite a nice way to start to kind of onboard.”

Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at ann-marie.alcantara@wsj.com

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