Walgreens replaced some fridge doors with screens and some shoppers absolutely hate it

Developed by startup Cooler Screens, the screen uses a system of motion sensors and cameras to display not only what’s inside the door, but also product information, prices, deals, and paid ads that are most appealing to the brand. increase. It has additional revenue sources and ways to modernize your shopping experience.
However, for customers who just want to look into the freezer and get ice cream, Walgreens ((((WBA). There is a risk of offending shoppers by solving problems they did not know exist.

The company wants more people to get involved in advertising, but so far the reaction has been annoying and confusing.

“Walgreens’ digital cooler screen let me see ads before I knew which door was holding the frozen pizza.” Said Someone on Twitter.
Another response: “@ WalgreensNOBODY needs a TV screen instead of a cooler box door … stop.. “

Retailers are eager to add new experiences to physical stores, but many consumers aren’t eager to change their habits. And they are certainly not used to seeing display ads in the freezer.

Julio Seville, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Georgia studying consumer behavior, said:

According to him, digital screens have the potential to add uncertainty and physical barriers to the simple, literally transparent process of reaching for a glass refrigerator.

Sevilla does not believe that consumers are looking for novelty when they visit a grocery store. Settings, people like their certainty and simplicity. “

Famous store

Still, Walgreens and cooler screens are moving forward. Walgreens ((((WBA). We started testing the screen in 2018 and have since expanded our pilots to thousands of locations across the country.
Several other major retailers have begun their own testing on cooler screens, including: Kroger ((((KR)., CVS ((((CVS).GetGo convenience stores and Chevron ((((CVX). gas station.

In an interview with CNN Business, Arsen Avakian, Co-founder and CEO of CoolerScreens, said:

According to the company, the startup currently has about 10,000 screens in its stores, which are viewed by about 90 million consumers each month. The company said it aims to provide digital displays to a wide range of retailers, including beauty, consumer electronics and home appliances. Improvement.

A Walgreens spokeswoman said in an email, Walgreens said [an] Efforts to provide our customers with a new and different experience. ”

A spokeswoman is valued because the screen provides customers with relevant product information to help them decide what to buy, and Walgreens evaluates the pilot to decide whether to expand further. I said that.

‘Moments of Truth’

Not all Walgreens customers are fans, but the CoolerScreens concept attracts prominent brands such as: Coke ((((KO)., Pepsi ((((PEP)., Nestle ((((NSRGF)., Kraft Heinz ((((KHC). When monster ((((MNST)...It has raised over $ 100 million from sponsors, including Microsoft ((((MSFT). When Verizon ((((VZ)...

Avakian, CEO of Cooler Screens, said he developed the concept after seeing customers in the store pick up their smartphones to find product information and reviews. Traditionally, in-store advertising has been limited to options such as billboards, promotions, and prominent placement of shelves. “Targeted digital ads are delivered in the” Moments of Truth, “Abakian said. It’s the same as a consumer deciding which product to pull out of the refrigerator.

Brands can place ads in multiple freezers, freezers that display product nutrition labels, or ads triggered by weather or time of day. Ice cream companies may want to advertise when it’s hot outside, but coffee brands can hit the morning rush.

This setting is intended to help stores add high-margin advertising revenue to offset their low-margin core retail business.

“Currently, retailers are making a big move to create what is called a” retail media network. ” This takes advantage of all the ways brands interact digitally with their retailers, “said Chris Walton, former vice president of Target, which runs retail blogs. Omni talk.

“This wasn’t a problem.”

According to Cooler Screens, 90% of consumers surveyed prefer digital screens to traditional refrigerators, and displays increase store sales (Walgreens does not comment).

But beyond the confusing social media posts, the technology has also attracted false information and conspiracy theories. Last month’s PolitiFact unveiled a Facebook viral video claiming that “Walgreens refrigerators are scanning the hands and foreheads of shoppers looking for the’mark of the beast’.”

Avakian claims that this technology is an “identity blind” and protects consumer privacy. The freezer has a front sensor used to anonymously track shoppers operating the platform, and an internal camera tracks product inventory.

Some customers are dissatisfied with customers who do not know whether to tap the screen or talk.

Henry Brewer, who recently encountered one of the digital screens in Walgreens, Chicago, said the technology was “very interesting” and “annoying.”

“We see ads literally everywhere, but now we have to go see them in the cooler box,” he said.

For Abakian, it’s just the expected increasing pain. CoolerScreens plans to educate customers about digital displays and launch features such as voice recognition, so shoppers can ask about prices and product locations.

“This is the future of retail and shopping,” said Abakian.


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