Arsen Avakian, CEO and Founder at Cooler Screens chats about the evolution of in-store and retail media trends in this short Q&A with MarTech Series:
Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Arsen, tell us about yourself and what inspired Cooler Screens?
With a background in computer science, I came to the United States from Armenia in 1996 on a Fulbright scholarship. I led the business development and corporate ventures group of i2 Technologies, the pioneer and global leader in supply chain management software solutions, for three years before founding and launching Argo Tea in 2003.
In late 2017, I set out to solve a problem that I was personally familiar with as the founder of a CPG brand: closing the experience gap between consumers, retailers and brands. When I visited stores, I noticed the frustration across the value chain of traditional retail: consumer experiences were below their heightened expectations; retailers struggled with basic operations including merchandising and inventory management; and product brands had little visibility into the results of their advertising spend and no way to influence purchasing at the point of sale. I founded Cooler Screens on the core idea that consumers deserve a far better experience than what is available today in brick-and-mortar retail.
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Tell us about the changing trends in in-store experiences and how media/screen platforms need to evolve to meet changing market and customer needs?
With the loss of third-party cookies, there is an opportunity, digitally in-store, for segment-based, contextually relevant targeting. Nearly 90% of CPG purchases including food, beverage and health are made physically in stores, so bringing what customers love about online shopping – pictures, information, promotions – to their brick-and-mortar experience helps create the ultimate consumer experience.
How do platforms like Cooler Screen enable to the retail media experience – tell us about some of the other most interesting features you’ve come across in this space from across the globe…
By transforming retail surfaces into digital IoT smart screens that deliver in-store retail media and merchandising across retailers, customer experience exists at the intersection of commerce, context and content. Brands increase sales and build brand equity simultaneously by delivering messages at the right time, in the right place, to the right consumers, while retailers can increase purchase frequency and unit sales.
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How can retail marketers and similar teams use these evolving trends/platforms to drive better business ROI over a period of time?
Brands and retailers can analyze customer activity patterns, such as dwell time or door opens, and purchasing behaviors in real-time using machine learning and other analytics. Cooler Screens’ AI technology optimizes ad delivery with intelligent targeting and precise placement to ensure the right offering is delivered at the right time, in the right place, to the right customer.
A few thoughts on what retail marketers can do to drive impact at the point of sale today, through newer platforms and technologies of this kind?
Customers make decisions quickly, so being there at that pivotal point of sale – where they’re considering what to buy – is critical. With in-store digital smart screens, retailers and brands can define in-context promotions, and deliver flawless product displays and real-time pricing at the point of sale.
Some last thoughts, on shifting retail media trends to watch out for?
The retail media market is expected to grow to over 25% of total digital media spending by 2026, so anyone who can get in in the early stages should integrate this impactful channel into their advertising budgets.
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