Digital functionality coming to retail kiosks

Two US companies are joining forces to transform the price-checkers that sit idle in retailers' aisles for most of the day into an ad medium all day long. And a couple of Canadian retailers are already negotiating to bring the new technology here.

Calling their project a first-of-its-kind ad venue, companies based in Sarasota, FL and Charlotte, NC have formed a strategic alliance to market retail kiosks that don’t just serve as price checkers and then stay idle when not in use.

The new gizmos also serve as product locators and can print out discount coupons on the spot. But their best feature is the ability to carry digital advertising messages, Bryan Jorett, VP of Source Technologies’ integrated products division, tells MiC.

The new kiosk capabilities were made possible by ‘embedding our Neocast media server firmware’ into the type of devices Source Technologies currently supplies to many retailers in the US, says Real Digital Media spokesman Dan Dyer. He spoke to MiC last week from the National Retail Federation’s annual convention in New York – where he says the companies’ booth was inundated by hundreds of interested retail reps.

Adds Dyer’s boss, RDM CEO Ken Goldberg: ‘Our partnership with Source Technologies will provide retailers with kiosks that offer greater functionality to reach customers with targeted information at the right place and the right time. Using these function-rich kiosks, retailers can expand their options from a self-service-only device (i.e., price checking) to a dynamic in-store marketing tool that has greater customer appeal. Through a single device, not only will customer demands for applications such as price disclosure be met, but when the kiosk is not in use by a customer, it will also serve as a marketing and advertising vehicle to positively affect customer shopping behavior.’

Jorett says the new-style kiosks will be available in Canada through his company’s resellers, adding that negotiations are already underway with two ‘major retailers.’ Although he declined to identify them by name, he says they’re ‘in the pharmacy and shoe sectors, and we expect to ink both Canadian deals within the next 60 days.’