Digital Ads Change Based on Shopper
Marketers are looking to tailor in-store ads to consumers based on what they purchase. In the future, according to The Wall Street Journal, those messages flashed on digital screens in stores may also change based on a person’s appearance.
Dunkin’ Donuts is among the first in the U.S. looking to see if purchase-based messaging will help drive incremental volume. In two of the chain’s stores in Buffalo, NY, consumers ordering coffee in the morning will be greeted with ads at the pick-up counter that invite them back later for a lunch menu item or for another coffee.
Procter & Gamble is working with Metro in Germany to generate messages that are based on actual shopper purchases. Radio frequency identification tags on products signal when a consumer has taken a product and that in turn determines what ad will appear on eye-level digital screens throughout the store.
Sophisticated in-store media programs are in the infancy stage as the Dunkin’ Donuts and P&G/Metro tests demonstrate. Still, the investment that companies are making suggest that many have concluded that developing in-store media is essential in a world where it has become increasingly difficult to break through the clutter in traditional media.
Andy Murray, chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi X, called himself “a skeptic on technology in the shopping environment.” According to Mr. Murray, large numbers of screens positioned around stores doing nothing other than pitching products is a surefire way to lose shoppers’ interest. Having large numbers of screens in stores has become more doable of late as the price of screens has come way down.
While there is clearly a learning curve, digital media firms are experimenting with new technologies to communicate more effectively with shoppers. One development is the use of facial-recognition technology. Cameras near signs in stores use a variety of algorithms to analyze an individual’s features and place them in certain demographic groups. Using this information, digital screens will then run messages intended for that demographic. YCD Multimedia, the company working with Dunkin’ Donuts in Buffalo, is in the process of deploying facial recognition programs.
Companies are also looking at the potential for in-store digital media to help improve inventory management. According to The Journal article, Aroma Espresso Bar can automatically change the ads people see at the checkout. Store managers, for example, can run ads that push pastries that will go stale if they aren’t sold on a given day.
Discussion Questions: What do you think of the potential for in-store digital media connected with RFID, facial recognition and other technologies to drive unplanned purchases? What do you think about the use of digital media in-stores to improve inventory management?