PRN takes on sales for fleet of screen-equipped shopping carts

May 7, 2008 by Dave Haynes

As seen on Screens.TV, and here and there, Premier Retail Networks has struck an alliance with a company called Cabco, which has figured out a way to put screens onto a shopping cart that might actually survive getting banged and beaten day after day in a big box retailer.

PRN, which already has 250,000 screens in big box stores like WalMart USA, gets more inventory to sell out of the deal. Cabco gets an ad sales team already peddling screens in these environments, as well as access to creative services and already produced content.

PRN plans to develop a seamless connection between Cabco’s display screen technology and PRN’s platform in order to facilitate better coordination of content, advertising and measurement. In addition, PRN will provide advertising sales for Cabco’s TV Kart(TM) and the two companies will work together to develop a range of interactive services that will appeal to advertisers and retailers while enhancing the consumer shopping experience.

“Advertisers are looking for exciting in-store media that delivers results, but they are also looking to consolidate their media spend and work with experts in the area of content optimization,” said Cabco chief operating officer Brad Johnson. “PRN brings our advertisers an industry-experienced contact for purchasing our network, as well as the ability to produce or re-purpose content specifically for the in-store environment.”

“We are excited to be able to provide an integrated in-store media experience for shoppers and advertisers in this alliance with Cabco,” said PRN president Richard Fisher. “This alliance demonstrates the flexibility of our services, the ease in which our technology integrates with other products such as Cabco’s TV Kart(TM), and shows how our range of services, such as Ad Sales, can provide value to our partners.”

The TV Kart shopping carts look like something that came out of the Little Tykes design lab, and are basically novelty shopping carts little kids will insist they ride in when moms haul them into stores on shopping trips.

New Zealand-based Cabco Group’s business model is based on the notion that they provide the carts free to retailers, and maintain, in return for running ads and informational content on a 7 injch screen embedded in the shopping cart handle.

New technology in TV KartTM, says Cabco on its website, will allow powerful mobile advertising and touch point messaging to be presented directly to shoppers as they make their product decisions. These messages will be played from a new 7 inch shopper facing monitor while their children are still happily entertained by their own 7 inch movie monitor, on the inside of TV KartTM.

Kids are entertained with kid friendly shows such as: Wonder Pets, Dora The Explorer, Blues Clues, The BackYardigans, Thomas & Friends, Barney, and Bob the Builder

The Shopper: In addition to product advertising messages, shoppers will receive an exciting range of alternative services and information such as:

* Recipes
* Store Specials
* Price checking
* Coupons
* Helpful Shopping Tips

TV KartTM has similar basket space as conventional shopping carts and free to shoppers.

The screens are ruggedized and the carts are designed in such a way that you can see where a battery sufficiently powered to run screens all day, can be hidden inside all that plastic.

There are aspects to this that I like, such as the price checking capability. That’s the sort of thing that really can improve the shopping experience. Not to mention screens inside the cart that may limit meltdowns by the little buggers when Mom or Dad is hopping.

But the business model would make me jumpy as hell if I was an investor. The carts have to cost way more than regular ones and the investment is entirely in Cabco’s hands. They require charging stations and take up much more space than regular stainless steel or plastic carts. And there’s maybe a four or five year window in which kids will even sit in those things. They outgrow the space or the content on the movie screens. It also looks like these things are strictly for indoors, and I could just imagine the laugh-riot of trying to get this through a parking lot of slushy snow.

The net result is only a few of these carts are going into each store, so these have to get into a hell of a lot of locations before there’s even a chance at having the sort of market penetration that will steadily interest the big packaged goods brands. Cabco is in about 1,000 retail sites right now, which likely equates to 4-5,000 carts out there.

Now, if they made much bigger carts, put ESPN on the screens, and maybe a little beer fridge, you’d get a whole new audience of happy users. But the hissy-fits if all the carts were already in use would be ugly, and a little sad.

  1. Steve Jelke says:

    I’ve seen these things in Texas. Not once have they been clean enough to put a child in them, and out of the three that are in the store, only one is ever working. What a waste of space!!! The board of health should conduct a swab test and save all those parents the cost of medical expenses!!!

  2. Sidra Muoio says:

    Hissy fits if the beer carts aren’t available?? Try taking a toddler out of one of these things if their show isn’t over! I can see it now – parents sitting in the parking lot waiting for the show to finish so they can leave.

    I agree with Steve about the germs – yuck – my kid puts everything in his mouth.

    I think in concept it’s a good idea, but in reality it’s not practical. The person who came up with this one definately doesn’t have little kids. And what advertising would the adult see if the screen is in the car section?

  3. screenmedia says:

    I had not thought of the germs thing, but yeah. Steve’s comments about there being all of three of them in a store is enough to tell me this is a wobbly business model.

    Regarding screens, there is a second one on the handle, facing whoever is pushing the cart around.

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