C-Store Chain Kwik Trip Finishes 1,000+ Screen Rollout Across US Midwest

March 19, 2021 by Dave Haynes

The commercial display company PPDS, aka Philips, has announced the completion of a smart digital signage rollout to some 700 Kwik Trip convenience stores across the U.S. midwest.

The c-store chain started a modernization program in 2018 and now has more than 1,000 screens in place – all of them Philips D-Line displays with embedded Android media players.

The last store done was in La Crosse, Wisconsin (pictured in main photo). Given that there are 1,000 or so displays for 700 or so stores, this one is a bit of an outlier, with 11 screens inside.

The screen network is being used primarily to drive in-store promotions, notably higher margin items like hot food.

PPDS is suggesting going with smart displays saved an estimated $1.9 million, because the built-in player negated the need for external media players. At roughly 1,000 players, using that $1.9M number, this suggests they would have otherwise had to use $1,900 PCs … which I will simply say seems a wee bit on the high side.

Going with SoC displays might trim $250-$500 off for the cost of a small media playout device, but what rarely gets addressed is that these smart displays don’t have “free” media players. The cost of the computing smarts is just built into the final price, and it’s hard to get a sense of how much that is because there don’t tend to be apples to apples comparable displays WITHOUT the SoC to compare pricing.

However, there are likely savings in install speed and I have heard and confirmed several times that all-in-one displays reduce field outages for the simple reason that fewer external cables mean fewer connectors that work loose and confound local staff.

“The decision to go with PPDS came down to their System-on-Chip functionality, which led to significant cost savings over others,” suggests Mark Meisner, Director of Marketing and Advertising for Kwik Trip. “Also, a great (three year) warranty that helped us feel comfortable about the investment.”

The network is running off the Digital Touch Systems CMS platform, called Snap. Don’t know the company, which is based in Austin, TX, but it has been around for more than a decade.

  1. Ken Goldberg says:

    Thanks for debunking the specious cost savings claim by the display manufacturer, Dave. The whole SoC story, regardless of brand, is one of inflated cost of acquisition claims and complete ignorance of cost of ownership.

  2. The cost of the SoC (and its implementation) is minimal and has marginal impact on display cost, because they are often copies of very low cost reference designs. There’s more impact on overall cost from the software development to support them. All things being equal, I’d take integrated over external in most instances – with one caveat – the manufacturer must give qualified partners lower level access to platform to help secure performance.

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