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Kroger Bets on In-Store Media

This photo was taken at a Walgreens in Chicago.

Kroger is rolling out digital smart screens to 500 stores in the U.S. following a successful three-year pilot program with Microsoft and Verizon-backed digital merchandising platform Cooler Screens.

The goal of the partnership and expansion is to improve the physical shopping experience with dynamic, interactive media and digital merchandising, while also offering more insights, measurement and activation to brands, according to a media release from Cooler Screens.

Kroger is expanding this experience to help shoppers make better-informed decisions based on their own preferences, diets, health needs, budgets and lifestyles through Cooler Screens’ targeted and relevant advertising, per the release.

“We’re excited about this continued collaboration as it extends our vision for the future of retail media, offering brands another powerful marketing lever inside the store,” Cara Pratt, senior vice president at Kroger Precision Marketing, said in the release. “Cooler Screens shares and further enables this vision by bringing the best of digital experiences directly into our retail stores while integrating with our 84.51 data science platform to create an engaging and valuable experience for our customers, associates and brands.” 

The Chicago-based company’s digital, IoT-enabled smart screens have garnered support from retailers and brands, including Kroger, Walgreens, Circle K, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Edgewell Personal Care and Kraft Heinz. Cooler Screens says it has nearly 100 million viewers per month across more than 10,000 screens in the U.S., a number that is forecasted to grow to more than 200 million viewers per month in early 2024.  

Additionally, in early 2023, Cooler Screens expanded its technology beyond cooler aisle refrigerator doors, allowing retailers to integrate it across cooler doors, endcaps, checkout lane coolers, pharmacy screens and other in-store touchpoints.

Stores are overwhelmingly still the place shoppers are making purchase decisions, and brands are increasingly finding in-store media as an effective way to reach and inspire consumers at crucial points in their shopper journey. That’s why Tim Bagwell, chief product officer at Barrows, and Kristina Kovar, president of Barrows North America, emphasized the growing opportunity brands and retailers have to influence shoppers via out-of-home, connected TV, digital POS display advertising and, most importantly, in-store media, or “in-store experiences,” during P2PI’s Future Forward conference in New Orleans in May.

[Read More: The Connected Store as the Next Wave of Retail Media]

“Retail has really changed post-pandemic. Shoppers are coming back into the physical store, and they’re expecting the physical store to give the same level of feedback and engagement that the digital store is. We think very passionately that the digital store needs to be more like the physical store, and the physical store needs to be become like the digital store in order to engage shoppers,” Bagwell said.

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