New System Puts Video Ads on Store Cooler Doors

Transparent iDoor Ads Let Shoppers See Products Behind Them

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Credit: Anthony International

Up to now, in-store video ads have been confined mainly to overhead screens or end caps that are relatively easy to ignore. But now a store equipment manufacturer and digital signage firm are teaming to roll out technology that puts video or static ads on refrigerator and freezer doors in convenience, grocery and drug stores.

The somewhat ethereal iDoor medium comes from equipment manufacturer Anthony International and digital signage firm Real Digital Media, which have tested it at Circle K and 7-Eleven franchisees, as well as several undisclosed grocers, with an eye to also moving into drug stores. Anthony has around 600,000 doors installed nationwide that could theoretically be retrofitted with the ad system, said Carre' Bistline, the company's director of business development for digital signage solutions.

Other than the darkest graphic renderings, the ads are transparent, so people can still see products behind the doors, said Ken Goldberg, CEO of Real Digital Media. The ads can be changed and distributed nationwide from a central location.

Installations cost $5,250 per iDoor, which makes it practical for franchisees to invest in or brands to fund, Ms. Bistline said. Anthony has been working so far with an unnamed beer marketer and other carbonated soft-drink brands, she said.

To avoid clutter, stores probably won't use iDoor on all their glass doors, she said. And while much of the advertising may be for products immediately behind the doors, she expects lots of cross merchandising, such as targeting people buying soft drinks with promotions for snacks or prepared foods.

Credit: Anthony International

An 11-week test by third-party analytics firm VideoMining at a Florida convenience store found a 13% increase in traffic to cooler doors, 19% increase in sales of promoted fountain drinks, 3% increase in overall store traffic, and a 4% increase in sales from products behind cooler doors. Overhead video from the test shows shoppers stopping to look at the ads fairly frequently.

"The first thing is the wow factor," said Mike Jammu, a 7-Eleven franchisee in south Los Angeles who has tested the system. "When people walk into the store, they haven't seen anything like it." He's had customers walk back out to their cars to get spouses and kids to see the video ads too.

"What helps us the most is that you can change the ads" during the day, Mr. Jammu said, so he changes ads from brunch to lunch to dinner as he's stepped up his focus on prepared foods.

"This seems like it could be pretty big," said Nikki Baird, managing partner with retail technology consulting firm Retail Systems Research. "You can't help but see it. But you can also see in the case and find what you're looking for. It just facilitates the attention rather than interrupting it."