NRF16: ‘Smart Displays’ Are A Key To Mobile Success For GameStop, Kraft Heinz

Partnering with Shelfbucks helped the retailers understand shopper behavior — and communicate in a personalized way that app users won’t ignore.

Communicating effectively with consumers on their most personal device — the smartphone — requires knowing each shopper well enough to meet them where they are in-store without inundating them with too much information.

Striking this balance through the use of sensors in “Smart Displays” was the main topic of discussion at Sunday’s NRF:Retail’s Big Show panel entitled Reaching In-Store Shoppers on #1 Device: Mobile, which featured execs from GameStop, Modelez International, and Kraft Heinz. All of the featured brands had recently partnered with beacon promotion platform Shelfbucks, adding digital sensors to in-store merchandising to create “Smart Displays” that collect mobile shopper data to improve the in-store mobile experience.

GameStop’s Charlie Larkin

A “Smart Display,” as described by Shelfbucks, is the same display you see normally on the shelf or aisle (an Oreo display, for example) — just with a Bluetooth-enabled sensor added. This way, brands have access to consumer data culled from opted-in shoppers mobile devices — which can be used in a variety of ways.

GameStop’s Charlie Larkin shared how the chain is employing the sensors to contextualize the in-store app user experience.

“What this sensor does for us is two things: One, it has an IR sensor which is measuring traffic, — where folks are going, how long they’re dwelling, etc. At the same time, the IR sensor picks up someone in the area and it activates a beacon [that GameStop installed previously], and that beacon then communicates to the shopper’s phone and says, ‘You are standing in store XYZ and you are now shopping PlayStation products.’

The app now knows that your current context is in-store shopping for PlayStation products. The offers and information that you get from that app, the content, the trailers, the coupons can then be intentionalized are backed by the user’s shopping experience — and that’s what [drives sales],” Larkin concluded.

But Kraft Heinz exec Tim Burke explained how his company is using the same technology but approaching the experience from the other end — that is, beginning the process by simply aggregating user data to determine if the way a food display was set up determined the purchase outcome. In other words, the brand can examine data from sensors in the best in-store displays, and compare that to sales data from other locations.

This is the first step, and then mobile shopper data can then later be used to improve message targeting, contextual offers, and more.

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Kraft Heinz’s Tim Burke

“[Context] is so important, because I have 50 apps in my phone and I probably use three — just because the other ones I get so annoyed about,” Burke said. “The great part of the data that comes along with these smart displays that it allows you to really make smarter decisions for the shopper. For instance, if you get information about what sells better versus what doesn’t sell, and you can then start to adjust what the product is or what the product portfolio is, and then the messaging.”

Plus, this is data [haven’t had] exposure to. We’ve used syndicated data or royalty data, but this is at the moment of truth. This is decision-type data,” Burke continued. “The more of this we can understand and store, the better we can set aisles, flows, adjacency, and put the relevant POS in the right spot in the store. And finally, by knowing what [shoppers are] buying and what’s relevant, we can take the advantages of online and clicks bring it into the brick and mortar environment — for food shoppers we can suggest new recipes, come up with new content like that. Sometimes that’s to push a sale directly — and sometimes it’s just about content that’s interesting and helps to personalize an interaction. And that personalization is what it’s all about.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.