There's three big problems with those glass-fronted refrigerators used in supermarkets: Firstly, they don't consume enough electricity. Secondly, the clear glass makes it too easy for shoppers to see what's inside. Thirdly, they do not have the capability to give shoppers seizures.
Here to solve all three problems is Cooler Screens, a Chicago-based startup that's raised $100 million in funding. The company produces gigantic monitors that go over the front of refrigerator doors and can play video. In 2019 the company talked Walgreens into rolling these out in 50 of their Chicago stores. Last year, they announced they'd expand them into 2,500 Walgreens stores nationwide, and Walgreens competitor Kroger has reportedly inked a deal as well.
If these screens simply showed the actual inventory of each 'fridge but with larger labeling and more legible price tags, I could call that a win for the visually impaired.
Instead, Cooler Screens views these as "media platforms" that can barrage the consumer's senses with overlays and animations, so that they can sell, sell, sell. Imagine seeing this as you're looking to locate a particular item in one of the refrigerators:
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Actually, I just thought of another great value these provide. In dystopian TV shows like "Mr. Robot" or "Money Heist," where hackers suddenly capture every screen in the world to broadcast their messages, there's never been a way to reach those shoppers in the back of the store. Problem solved.
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What a completely illogical waste of energy, raw materials and resources! We have these ina few European locations too and Japan had these on some of their wending machines for some years before us. Maybe the current shortage of components, resources and capacity will kill these sort of gimmicks off, but I don't have high hopes.
We've done several trials of these for customers over the last 10 years and they universally lead to a drop in sales. People standing watching eventually lose the will to shop, and bystanders don't want to interrupt the viewing of others by opening the door to get product.
Not to mention Content Creation Costs (digital content costs more than static signage they're used to paying for and the 30s TV ad gets old after the 100th rotation).
Inventory tracking though? if they've cracked that, that's a winner.
Meanwhile they are closing stores in the non-white areas of San Francisco because "shoplifting" is costing them like a thousand dollars a month.
I wonder if we are evolving to a point of two types of humans, those that can't exist without a screen and are adapting to almost becoming cyborgs, and those of us who are pushing away screens and interacting with them in more like - "well, gotta wash the dishes and look at the internet today".
jeebus save us.
Minority Report becoming true.
Seen one of these fridges at my local liquor store. It was actually super cool. But it was a single one. Can't imagine a row of them with spinning advertising.