Unzappable Commercials

By Evan Schuman  |  Posted 2004-12-29 Print this article Print

In one trial that he worked on, Green said, consumers standing in a typical checkout line were exposed to the same amount of commercials that they would likely have seen while watching a major hour-long television program. They factored in that many commercials are not seen because of snack breaks and the like, he said, which is not an issue with the checkout line videos. Its a commercial that TiVo cant zap. Green said retail IT and marketing execs today are in a bit of quandary when it comes to these videos to the cart or the checkout line. On the one hand, consumer surveys are absolutely consistent that the most dreaded part of the typical grocery trip is waiting in the checkout lane. That would suggest pushing self-checkout and self-scan at the cart level. But an efficient cart system removes an attractive marketing opportunity.
Retail IT execs "have conflicting objectives," Green said. "Its hard to support keeping them standing in line to be able to sell them something. If you dont have a queue, theres no endgame."
Wal-Mart gave suppliers an RFID holiday gift. To read more, click here. For the moment, though, the debate is academic. Workable and practical cart-based self-scan systems are "at least two years away," Green said, and other retail IT vendor executives have suggested it could be more than twice that long. Even if its merely a stopgap, videos to the checkout line is a viable business for several years, Green said. He sees it selling such things as cruise packages. But unlike typical commercials, these would have interactive elements. Green painted a scenario where a customer could agree to the discounted cruise package while standing in line, use a touch-screen display to select dates and then be able to pick up the customized cruise package at customer service after checkout. Retail Center Editor Evan Schuman can be reached at Evan_Schuman@ziffdavis.com. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on technologys impact on retail.

Evan Schuman is the editor of CIOInsight.com's Retail industry center. He has covered retail technology issues since 1988 for Ziff-Davis, CMP Media, IDG, Penton, Lebhar-Friedman, VNU, BusinessWeek, Business 2.0 and United Press International, among others. He can be reached by e-mail at Evan.Schuman@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel