Platt Retail Institute: Audience Measurement Technology Optimizes the In-Store Digital Media Opportunity at Whole Foods Markets
By David Haynes,
a special arrangement, presented here for discussion, is a summary
of a current article from the Platt Retail Institute’s Journal
of Retail Analytics.
A network of
digital screens installed in Whole Foods Markets in North America is
providing all the medium’s stakeholders with some unique and valuable
insights on the shopping audience and its dynamics. Operating so far
in Whole Foods in Chicago and Toronto, with more under agreement, the
network uses digital screens to help vendors raise brand and product
awareness, educate shoppers and, most critically, drive sales.
is particularly important in the nutritional grocer sector because many,
if not most, of the companies with products on the shelves do not have
the budgets to build brand awareness using mainstream media.
has as many as 11 “zones” – or marketing channels – defined and located
by product area such as bakery, produce or seafood. Those stations have
one or more large flat panel LCD screens positioned within easy view
of shoppers, with a small sensor fixed in the screen fascia. Biometric
software technology detects and calculates how many different faces look,
for how long and when, and also segments viewers by gender.
A regular report,
dubbed Pulse Analytics, provides details on overall audience viewership,
individual station viewership, and by request only, detailed campaign
viewership for the digital in-store program. The data so far shows some
commonality across the retail estate, and also some unique store-to-store
dynamics such as:
- Total audience:
Foot traffic in a typical store is about 100,000 monthly, and the impression
count suggests more than 75 percent viewership store by store.
- Peak viewing
times: Peak time-of-day impressions vary considerably store to store.
Early to mid-afternoon is consistently a high traffic period, but while
impressions drop off steadily from then in a suburban location, they
stay high through the dinner hour at a more urban location and actually
peak mid-evening in the Chicago store.
- Day of week:
Tuesday is the strongest weekday for audiences, while Saturday is the
highest day of the week in the Toronto stores and Sunday slightly higher
than Saturday in the Chicago store.
- Most viewed
stations: Results vary by store, but grocery and supplements are high.
The stations where there are not, typically, brand-oriented messages
are the weakest – such as seafood, meat and produce.
- Gender mix:
More than two-to-one female over male, but the data show in some locations
the male percentage is higher at certain stations, such as prepared
The data also
gives Whole Foods an
understanding of the actual viewing time, confirming this is a glance
or pass-by media in which shoppers steadily scan the surroundings. The
technology is showing shoppers are engaging with the screens for less
than three seconds on average, with some spots appearing to hold attention
longer than others. To counter that short engagement time, content is
being developed that is short and punchy and has a quick call to action
of some kind. Vendors are now using the data to get a far better grasp
of shopper demographics and traffic patterns across the entire store,
down to the individual stations.
What true benefit do you expect retailers will gain from shopping metrics
tied to digital signage networks? Is the ROI there yet for retailers?
What factors will impact vendor adoption of the medium?