When I was in downtown Toronto Thursday I squirted out of the parking garage and smack into a food court, which included a pita sandwich place with a curious little screen parked on the counter right at cash.
It was segmented screen with a video ad running in the main window, with a printer in behind it. The woman working there knew little or nothing about what it was for. So I took a snapshot with useless BlackBerry camera and it actually turned out sort of OK.
Looked up the thing this afternoon and determined the CounterOffer screen is part of the offer from a Toronto start-up called RT7 that sets up retailers with a full POS retail management system in exchange for letting them run 30-second ads on customer facing screens and hand out related coupons.
The corporate website says they have $3 million raised and are rolling out in New York and Chicago. Presumably, Toronto was a test.
FREETAILING provides qualified single store, franchise or national corporate retailers with a complete end to end web-based retail management application, all required hardware, delivery, setup, training and on-site support for absolutely no cost; No up front cost and no monthly cost for up to 8 years. In order to become a FREETAILER all you have to do is give your customer the sales receipt generated by the FREETAILING system at the end of the transaction. The sales receipt will include details of the transaction and will also include an exciting, non-competing offer for your customer.
The FREETAILING hardware includes a 2-sided 15” interactive high powered computer. On one side you enter the details of the transaction, tender payment, etc and on the other; the customer will see their transaction details as well as a multi media presentation of the offer which is to be printed on the receipt at the end of the sale.
Very interesting approach, and presumably these guys had some numbers to back up what would have to be a fairly pricey site to site investment. The website suggested a campaign for a new Sum41 CD had a redemption rate on a coupon of more than 5.5%, which likely made the music retailer happy.
In a separate but also interesting twist on things, Real Digital Media (disclaimer: evil competitor) has dropped what I assume is a stripped down version of their software inside those little price-checker units mounted on columns in a number of larger retailers. When the checkers are not being used, ads play.
I struggle to see this as part of the media mix at agencies, but it might have some use in in-store messaging and promotion. It was shown at NRF, and according to the story in Media in Canada, the booth was very busy.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.