Will customers grow to love Walgreens’ digital cooler doors?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
That’s the reaction of customers, CNN reports, to the decision by retailers to replace see-through cooler doors with opaque digital alternatives that are activated by the presence of shoppers to provide product information, prices and special deals.
Consumers have taken to social media to voice their complaints about the new doors.
One Twitter user, found by RetailWire, wrote, “Walgreens is replacing the basic glass transparent cooler doors with screens that of course serve you ads. I am tired.”
Another tweeted, “It wouldn’t be so annoying if the screen didn’t play bait and switch. The products on display are never in the cooler — you mostly find empty shelves.”
A Facebook user wrote, “This is supposed to ‘solve’ my problem as a consumer? No, definitely NOT! In fact, it’s going to add to my problems as a consumer ’cause when I suffer through the advertising waiting for the screen to show me which drinks are in what cooler, and I open that cooler to find it doesn’t contain the drink I want…I’m going to hunt down the store manager…”
The digital doors, to be clear, are not new to Walgreens. The drugstore retailer began testing the concept in 2018 and has rolled it out to thousands of stores since then.
The company behind the technology, Cooler Screens, says that 90 percent of the 2,200 consumers it has surveyed since February report having a positive experience across six key metrics, including product in-stock availability, store navigation, product selection, purchase decision, product appeal and content engagement.
Cooler Screens also reports that retail sales of products in stores with its 4K digital smart screens are significantly higher than comparable locations in the area. Sales of advertised products also do better than in stores with traditional doors.
The technology behind the digital doors is said to be “identity blind” and does not capture or store personal data on shoppers. It does, however, collect information on the numbers of people who walk in front of the doors as well as dwell time and door opens.
The company claims that its retail partners include Chevron, Get Go and Kroger, in addition to Walgreens. It says that it works with over 180 consumer packaged goods brands.
- Walgreens replaced some fridge doors with screens. And some shoppers absolutely hate it – CNN
- Cooler Experience – Cooler Screens
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are the digital doors used by Walgreens a solution in search of a problem, as critics suggest, or is it a valuable tool for shoppers, stores and consumer brands? Which stakeholder group — consumers, retailers or brands — derives the most benefit from the technology?