The end times are surely here, as even something as trivial as grabbing a bottle of Coke or Gatorade from a store fridge has turned out to be an insufferable task.
Walgreens and other retailers have begun swapping out their traditional, glass-paneled freezers with high-tech models from Cooler Screens that feature a digital display instead, a seemingly neat idea if it weren’t for the fact that shoppers can no longer see inside and may even have to wait for an ad to stop playing before getting a real idea of what’s behind the door. Cooler Screen’s controversial tech actually appears to have been rolled out at some stores years ago, but recent complaints from shoppers over social media have drawn renewed attention toward what many seem to think is a very, very stupid idea.
“90%+ of consumers no longer prefer traditional glass doors,” reads a statement on the front page of Cooler Screens’ website. Yes, of course.
The digital cooler screens at Walgreens made me watch an ad before it allowed me to know which door held the frozen pizzas— Elwood Blues (@ElwoodBluesClue) December 31, 2021
Walgreens replaced some fridge doors with screens. And some shoppers absolutely hate it (CNN)
- The screens, which were developed by the startup Cooler Screens, use a system of motion sensors and cameras to display what’s inside the doors — as well as product information, prices, deals and, most appealing to brands, paid advertisements. The tech provides stores with an additional revenue stream and a way to modernize the shopping experience.
- Currently the startup has about 10,000 screens in stores, which are viewed by approximately 90 million consumers monthly, according to the company. Avakian said the company aims to bring its digital displays to a broad range of retailers including those in beauty, consumer electronics and home improvement.
- Cooler Screens CEO Avakian said he developed the concept after watching in-store customers whip out their phones to find product information and reviews. Traditionally, in-store advertising has been limited to options like signs, promotions and prominent placement on shelves. But Cooler Screens’ targeted digital ads deliver at the “moment of truth,” Avakian said, right as consumers decide which product to pull out of the fridge.