Retail media: New visual heights
2024 is looking to be the year more c-stores adopt data-driven high-impact digital signage.
Adapt Media has recently signed on INS Market and BG Fuels, growing its advertising network to more than 10,000 c-stores nationwide, with each location either tapping into its network via 50-inch traffic-facing screens in their windows, static posters on the walls or digital displays found at POS. That includes thousands of independents and 2,000-plus Circle K locations nationwide, as well as Hasty Markets.
Adapt Media pays a c-store a rental fee to have their digital screens join its network, and a store’s revenues also benefit from any incremental sales the screens drive. The network has been used by the likes of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Ontario Lottery Gaming Corp and Coca-Cola to communicate messages to people passing by or coming into the stores, whether it be for a new product launch, price promotion or contextual messaging.
“We command all the screens from a central point, with the ability to shut them off when the store closes, and to understand exactly when the ads are running and for how long,” says Jamie Thompson, CEO of Adapt Media, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. “We also have data to calculate the impressions reached.”
Ads can be purchased on a programmatic basis—for instance, a buy of inventory near high schools and university campuses that runs only during lunch hour. Adapt Media also offers takeover activations, since it also sells static ad formats like window and floor decals, cooler clings and counter promotions, which can be combined with the digital screens for an immersive ad buy. Scotiabank is among the marketers who have executed takeover activations.
Adapt Media is also working with retailers, including INS, to get more granular in their targeting. “We are overlaying transactional and loyalty data, as well as other sets like historical data, to understand customer buying patterns and drive new purchasing behaviours,” explains Thompson.
Chicago-based Cooler Screens is another fast-growing provider of digital media, having created technology that takes existing surfaces, like glass cooler doors, and turning them into smart screens that adapt to consumer behaviour and data-driven context. With professional lighting and high-quality photography, it can display product behind the coolers with greater clarity, and highlight information like a product’s nutritional information, for instance.
It is currently doing a pilot project with Parkland in Canada, but results with stores in the U.S. have found cooler screens achieve a 3% to 5% incremental same-store sales lift. In the U.S., Cooler Screens has more than 11,200 screens in over 760 locations.
“I don’t see why a Coca-Cola or Pepsi should ever spend a dollar outside the store—they should give their money to the retailer, because the eyeballs that come in day in and out can be influenced at point of sale,” says Cooler Screens CEO Arsen Avakian, who created the company after founding Argo Tea in 2003 (and sold in 2020) and never really knowing which half of his advertising spend was well-spent.