Skip to main content
Designing Retail Media for Discovery and Trial
Sponsored Content

Designing Retail Media for Discovery and Trial

Using in-store retail media to maximize shopper conversions

Over the past two decades, the digitization of advertising created countless touchpoints between brands, retailers, and shoppers. Naturally some of these formats and channels (like video and social) facilitate more entertainment and engagement than other tactics (banner ads). But despite its fun and often addictive nature, digital media alone cannot satisfy a shopper’s needs when it comes to product discovery. Physical retail stores remain the most important channel for discovery across all categories but particularly for grocery. Roughly half of shoppers who purchased a new brand or product in food and beverage (50.8%) or household supplies (48.6%) discovered it while shopping in-store.1 Furthermore, 31% of shoppers who made an in-store discovery purchased that item right away (vs 19 % on retail sites and 10% on brand sites). 

Simply put, in-store environments make shopping and discovery more fun. And given the sheer size of the in-store audience, the mindset of the in-store shopper, and the ability to engage in ways digital cannot, designing the right kind of in-store media experience becomes more important than ever. Because savvy marketers know: the real battle for shopper attention isn’t happening online, it’s happening in-store.

Audience Size

Despite the growth of e-commerce over the past several years, in-store audiences remain 70% larger on average than digital audiences for leading brick-and-mortar retailers.2  This presents an obvious opportunity to drive trial and conversion, yet surprisingly, only 9% of U.S. retail media networks (RMNs) offer in-store digital media as a monetized solution.3 Retailers and brands have an opportunity to better capitalize on millions of trips each week with media that enhances the shopper journey at the right moment(s) and uses shopper identity to customize the message, content or offer.

Audience Mindset

Perhaps the largest distinction between online and offline is the mindset of the shopper. Online shoppers already know what they are going to order (or reorder) from a retailer’s site. E-commerce satisfies a shopper’s functional needs by providing a fast path to the virtual aisles they care most about. In contrast to this transactional experience, the in-store environment facilitates real time discovery of products or categories that may not have initially been "on the list".  In a recent survey shoppers stated 49% agree that discovering products is one of their top reasons to shop in physical stores. In-store shoppers are more receptive to new information with 43% of U.S. shoppers claiming they frequently notice brand displays.4

Audience Engageability

Shoppers want to be engaged. The logic underlying why online video is more powerful than a static banner ad is the same logic that should guide in-store media experiences. The retail environment can (and should) encourage shoppers to "touch and try". An overwhelming 99.7% of shoppers enter new CPG categories via purchases in-store vs online among the top 5 retailers with a physical and online presence (Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, Kroger).5 The interactivity of in-store experiences can create evocative moments of truth, even in ‘clean store’ environments.

Built for Retail Discovery

Freeosk is a tech driven discovery platform that uniquely delivers multisensory discovery every week, in retail, across the country. In a sea of endless options, Freeosk reduces buyer hesitation by helping shoppers discover new brands and categories through product sampling, video advertising, and out of aisle merchandising - all conveniently accessible via the Freeosk kiosk. Each automated experience creates a consistent and scalable point of trial, ensuring a favorable moment of truth for shoppers and brands.

Memorable Experiences. Measurable Results.

Freeosk looks at behavior not only on the day a shopper receives a sample but over time to capture delayed conversion. This unique look before and after the campaign helps quantify the impact of the sampling on shopper behavior. ​​With this approach brands can achieve up to $15 ROAS delivered by converters with up to 70% of which are new to brand. Those new buyers provide a massive opportunity for brands as Freeosk is able to retarget shoppers who have been exposed to media and/or sampling campaigns. The network of shoppable displays currently dispenses around 400K free samples each week (activating shopper taste and smell). But samples are not required. In fact, millions of additional video impressions (sight and sound) and secondary shoppable display (to touch product) are also effective at attracting new households and driving impulse sales. Equally enticing for the retailer, this in-store experience comes at no to low retail capital expenditures. 

As brands look ahead to 2024 activation, digitizing the in-store experience will be the next frontier in retail media as both brands and retailers seek to reach audiences at scale with activations that celebrate the joy of discovery.

About the Author:
Dilini Fernando is the Vice President, Marketing at Chicago-based Freeosk – a multisensory retail media platform featuring in-store ads and automated sampling. She joined Freeosk in October of 2020 to lead marketing and insights. Prior to Freeosk, Dilini spent ten years at MolsonCoors in brand marketing, digital innovation, new product development, and portfolio strategy. Dilini received her BA from Brown University and her MBA from the University of Chicago.

TO ACTIVATE NATIONWIDE FREEOSK CAMPAIGNS, CONTACT: Dilini Fernando, 401-862-4906 or [email protected]

Follow Freeosk on LinkedIn or visit

About Freeosk
Freeosk, the leading multisensory in-store retail media company, enables brands to activate identifiable shopper discovery at scale across its nationwide network of media kiosks. The kiosk experience – which is free to shoppers – combines in-store merchandising, automated sampling, and relevant content to reduce buyer aversion and attract new customers to products and categories. By harnessing first-party data and consumer intent signals, Freeosk translates in-store moments into powerful, privacy-protected data that can be actioned upon by brands to build engagement, increase sales, and drive ROI. Follow Freeosk on LinkedIn or visit the company’s business partner site at

1. Insider Intelligence 2023
2. Insider Intelligence 2023 
3. Merkel 2022
4. July 2022 study from the Path to Purchase Institute
5. Numerator Panel Insights L52W ending 9/30/23