Shopcast tweaks its in-store offer some more

August 26, 2009 by Dave Haynes

I was in my local Walmart last night and noticed something as soon as I walked in. A screen hanging from the ceiling, looking at me and telling me the three-day weather forecast on a thick strip along the bottom.

That wasn’t there before, and what else was different were all the big flat panels that used to hang from the ceiling above the far, exiting end of the cash aisles were gone. In their place were much smaller 4:3 screens at each cash lane, immediately in front of the actual cashier station. There was, as far as I could tell, just one other dedicated screen, the one that was in and remains in the health and beauty section.

Marketing content also runs on all the screens in the electronics section at the back, but those screens are there, DOOH network or not. 

EK3 appears to be tweaking its Shopcast model again, trying to figure out a formula that works in the Canadian estate of the world’s biggest retailer.

The screens at cash are maybe 19 inchers and are carved up to include the weather and also the date. The top 2/3 of the screen is motion graphic ads. My utter bewilderment at the need for weather is well-documented in many previous posts, so I will note only that I remain fully bewildered. The date taking up maybe 15 per cent of the screen real estate is even more baffling.

The checkout thing is a a lot closer to the revised Walmart Smart Network model in the US (see Checkout TV/PRN image below), which may have something to do with it (though that is purely my speculation). The scarcity of paid ads on the old 10-20 screen store layouts was obvious to anyone taking a casual interest in Shopcast’s fortunes, and the Walmart manager in the store I visit now and then seemed to have absolutely no qualms about stringing up promotions stuff that obscured the sightlines to the screens beyond cash. So credit goes to whoever made the call to change things up. I’m just kinda curious if it was EK3 or the 3,000 ton gorilla from Bentonville.

Walmart is an amazing retailer, but the stores are a tough, tough environment for a DOOH network. even very large screens look teeny in the massive footprint of a typical store, and I just don’t see how little screens at cash are the answer. Time will tell.

The EK3 folks are good people but have always been quite shadowy about what they do with their two big networks, Walmart and Tim Hortons. I’d love to hear if this is the way forward, or just a test. Guys? 


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