Advertising in general and Digital-Out-Of-Home in particular have always been dynamic, quickly evolving and continuously innovating industries.
The digital nature of DOOH in our digital age enables it to continue inventing new ways to advertise, new ways to measure, new ways to engage audiences and even enables new media.
In-Store Retail Media is a new addition to Digital-Out-Of-Home. It is a physical equivalent of Online Retail Media, also a recent trend in advertising within online retailer sites and mobile applications. It is DOOH on the Retail store canvas, which is a unique combination, very lucrative to brand advertisers.
Although there were isolated examples of in-store DOOH years ago, it is only now that we are seeing a surge in their development all over the globe, across many different categories of Retail and in many formats, enabled by the ongoing digital transformation, evolution of technology and the quick growth of the Digital-Out-Of-Home ecosystem.
Retailers, both online and physical, have started to embrace In-Store Digital Media when they saw an opportunity to establish a new revenue stream which would not only help them offset their traditionally low margins, but also often give them another powerful channel to communicate with their customers along their in-store journey – for brand building and promotional purposes.
This new advertising medium is unique because of its environment – extremely close to the actual product shelf, at the very end of the customer journey. It is lucrative because it provides access to finely filtered audiences based on their interest to particular stores and products and comes with an opportunity to engage customers when they are so close to making a buying decision.
In-Store Retail Media comes in many shapes. Digital screens at the store entrance or behind the counters, digital price tags, shelf-edge displays, interactive fridge doors, end-caps, and hand sanitising stations… New formats continue to emerge. This variety is a challenge in itself, but it makes an extremely rich canvas for advertisers.
Source: Delhaize Serbia
Brand advertisers have immediately realised the potential of In-Store Retail Media and we are seeing examples when brands book screens in physical stores for a year in advance, or even take ownership of in-store screen networks. This is happening because they understand the immense power of communication with the end customer at the point of purchase, but also the potential of immediate attribution – the impact of their message on the actual sales.
DOOH is powered by data, and in-store DOOH provides even more of it. The ability to directly see and analyse the impact of advertising on the customer behaviour gives a new dimension to the whole process and a new power to brands, allowing them to continuously optimise their communications.
Traffic, conversion, unique and returning visitors, dwell time, audience segmentation, engagement and attribution create a rather complete picture of any advertising campaign’s performance, online or offline. All this data is becoming available for in-store ads.
Let us have a closer look at how all this data can be collected in physical retail environments.
Traffic measurement is usually performed with camera-based and WiFi sensors. It is possible to measure actual footfall at the entrance to the store, but also at the screen and shelf levels, or any area of interest. Footfall figures provide the baseline by showing the overall audience, i.e., all potential customers inside the store. However, segmenting the footfall across multiple zones or points of interest gives insights into traffic flows, customer behaviour and conversion.
Conversion is a measure of the sales funnel, and it shows how the overall potential audience (e.g., Opportunities-To-See or footfall) translates into visitors or watchers, target audience, engaged watchers or shoppers and, ultimately, sales.
The number of unique visitors can be estimated using WiFi sensors detecting an individual physical address and a signal pattern of a mobile phone as a proxy for a person, and once fully anonymised and aggregated, producing a metric equivalent to Unique Reach in Digital Advertising. This also can be achieved using mobile location data with some extrapolation applied. Such approach also allows to measure the average In-Store Dwell Time and enables the estimation of returning visitor counts, which provides an equivalent of the Average Impression Frequency metric. Having Unique Reach and Frequency figures, as well as the Average Dwell Time for an in-store advertising campaign allows brands to fine-tune their understanding of how many people could be exposed to their ad, how often and for how long.
Dwell Time can also be acquired for the audience near the actual advertising media, thus providing an exact measure of Qualified Dwell Time, per Impression, showing for how long a potential watcher had a chance to be exposed to an ad while being near the screen. This screen-level or shelf-level metric can be used together with other view-specific KPIs, such as Attention Time, Glances, Distance, Mood, all provided by an Anonymous Video Analytics sensor, and coupled with product pickup sensors to perform an in-depth analysis of the customer’s Engagement with an advertisement or a product, or both.
Camera-based analytics is also able to provide an accurate estimation of each watcher’s demographics, i.e. age and gender, per impression. Those details can be further enriched using mobile location data or Social WiFi to add socioeconomic aspects, interests and preferences profiles. This enables granular, although still fully anonymous, Audience Segmentation and allows to accurately define target audiences for each campaign.
Finally, sales data, optionally coupled with some of the Engagement KPIs, such as uplifts in Attention Time or product pick-ups, can be used to evaluate the impact of any campaign on the increase in customers’ interest to advertised products and their purchase behaviour.
Unlike most other segments of Out-Of-Home, In-Store Digital Media provides relatively easy ways to analyse Attribution, due to a much shorter path to purchase.
Collecting and combining all the above data points enables physical Retail Digital Media network operators to devise a compelling offer to advertisers that includes uniquely positioned and dynamic advertising displays, short path to purchase, straightforward Attribution, as well as full analytics from campaign planning to execution and post-campaign reporting, with unlimited optimisation potential in-between.
So, what does make a successful In-Store DOOH network? These days it is a unique combination of impactful media, smart location at the end of the path to purchase, and the complete data stack on par with Digital Advertising.
There are some great examples of In-Store Retail Media networks leading the way, such as Coinstar, Cooler Screens, and most of the top retailers around the world are now considering or already building a network of their own. The trend is set to continue and it will eventually put this media where it belongs – among the most important segments of DOOH and at the top of mind of any marketer that wants to build brand equity and drive sales.
In the next article we will analyse the role of In-Store Digital Media in the advertising mix and how brands are using it as a part of their omnichannel marketing strategy.