Retail Screen Operator DART Innovation Acquired By Marketing Experience Giant Quad

February 7, 2024 by Dave Haynes

The guys behind little DART Innovation in North Carolina have realized a nice little exit from the business, being acquired by a firm that describes itself as a $3 billion global marketing experience company.

Quad, based outside of Milwaukee, has bought the in-store digital media solutions provider as a strategic investment, with plans to expand and seamlessly integrate the tech into Quad’s suite of products and services.

From PR:

Combining digital media with brick-and-mortar locations has been heralded as the next iteration for the online marketplaces that have exploded in recent years. The strategic intersection of physical and digital expands the brand-to-shopper experience beyond e-commerce to innovative on-screen engagement at the store shelf. With DART’s capabilities and technology Quad strengthens its place as a leader in revolutionizing the shopping experience for retailers, consumer packaged goods (CPGs) and consumers.

“Physical stores are poised to be the next major digital media channel,” says Eric Ashworth, President of Quad Agency Solutions. “Integrating DART’s hardware and software solutions into our portfolio further builds out Quad’s retail expertise, enabling us to evolve the shopping experience and change how brands connect with customers in store environments. DART’s technology and the systems and people that support it allow us to deliver targeted ads on digital screens at the most critical moment in any purchase decision: right at the store shelf. This is a trifecta of benefits for retailers, CPGs and their consumers.”

With digital screens positioned right next to products, Quad will provide CPGs the most impactful opportunity for delivering relevant promotions, sharing key product information, and even pointing to adjacent product options. In addition to driving sales for CPGs, this in-store digital media solution can level up the shopping experience, making a particular retailer more desirable as a place to shop.

The U.S. Department of Commerce says that even with the explosion of e-commerce, more than 85 percent of all retail sales in the U.S. continue to be made inside retail environments, and that number rises to nearly 90 percent for grocery, according to insights from marketing research company Insider Intelligence.

“Quad’s investment in this digital media solution for store environments is grounded in industry data that shows the emerging benefits of retail in-store media,” Ashworth continues. “The DART acquisition will open tremendous opportunities for Quad’s in-store, CPG and media clients to take full advantage of this burgeoning opportunity.”

DART founder Kenny Olson: “We had been looking for a company that could take DART’s solutions to a broader market while continuing to innovate and take these offerings to the next level. When we learned about Quad, the breadth and depth of its portfolio, and its commitment to its people and culture, we knew that this was the right place for us. We’re excited to join Quad and see this as an accelerator for achieving the DART vision to transform the retail industry through smart, integrated solutions.”

DART was founded in 2015, and has been deploying its technology and services with a variety of clients, including a large, nationwide retailer. I THINK they have been working with one of the big box DIY companies.

Quad, says PR, will continue to develop the DART system and prove its concept with a regional grocer while integrating the solution into its connected offerings.

I don’t see any deal terms, but that’s the norm these days.

Good for them! I have chatted and corresponded with Olson through the years but admittedly wasn’t too familiar with what DART was up to or how things were going.


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