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Interview

Interview: The Future of Retail Media that’s Lifting In-store Sales by 3-5%, with Arsen Avakian, CEO and Co-founder of Cooler Screens

The holy grail of omnichannel marketing is merging the informative richness of the online experience with the see it, feel it, touch it experience of the brick and mortar store. The grail is on its way. Arsen Avakian, formerly CEO and CO-founder of Argo Tea, and now CEO and Co-founder of Cooler Screens, joined Peter to talk about how his company is providing a new digital retail media opportunity in stores that is driving tremendous growth and consumer delight.

TRANSCRIPT

Peter:

Welcome to unpacking the digital shelf where we explore brand manufacturing in the digital age. Hey Everyone, Peter Crosby with the digital shelf Institute, the holy grail of omni-channel marketing is merging the informative richness of the online experience with the, see it touch it, feel it experience of the brick and mortar store. Right? Well, that grail is on its way, Arsen Avakian and formerly CEO and co-founder of Argo tea and now CEO and co-founder of Cooler Screens. Join me to talk about how his company is providing a new digital retail media opportunity in stores that is driving tremendous growth and consumer delight. So Arsen, thank you so much for, for coming on the pod to talk about what you and core screens are up to. And then what's, what's, uh, what the innovations are in kind of bringing digital into the brick and mortar retail experience.

Arsen:

Hey, Peter, good to be here. Thanks for having me.

Peter:

Delighted that, you know, what I just said, I think is really kind of at the crux of what I'd like to start talking to you about is, which is, you know, we had sort of this, uh, I don't know, it's probably an overstatement say a brick and mortar pause, but certainly the importance of digital overall. And of course, as part of the consumer journey got heightened during, uh, the COVID times. And so I'd, I'd love for you to talk about, you know, as we go to a post pandemic, I'm still knocking wood, uh, life here. Um, how with that happening, plus of course just, uh, the, um, the evolution of retail, I'd love just your high level thoughts about where consumer expectations are go and, and, uh, and, and where that brick and mortar retail experience needs to go relative to that.

Arsen:

Yeah. Well, Peter, I think it's on the it's top of mind for a lot of folks, right? That as we look back post COVID, and as you said, knock on wood it's post COVID, uh, retail is not dead, right that minute with that. I think that's now really my job is I think also pretty obvious that e-commerce is a part of our daily life and the digital experiences are now going to have to find that a way into every faucet, dilemma life and partially, uh, I'm going to say probably what you've heard from many others talking about, uh, we accelerated the technology adoption, uh, with humans, consumers, businesses, uh, definitely by a rate of X, right? I don't want to quote numbers who knows what it'll be, but, uh, that adoption of technology, uh, has created certain now expectations, right? So the good news is that bunch of folks now expect a lot more from their experiences shopping online, but, but kind of the good and the bad news now is that when they now go rush back into the stores, which we see over 90% of the traffic steal prefers to shop, at least as of right now in a physical environment, uh, they're going to have different set of expectations.

Arsen:

So I think retailers are going to have to step up to the game and give those new digital experiences available enough physical brick and mortar environment. Uh, otherwise consumers are going to have this, uh, continuous these appointment between what their, they got them used to online, but they can find it in a physical store.

Peter:

And, and I'm imagining you, in addition to consumer expectations, uh, these do really represent opportunities for better conversion, a better experience. So it drives growth, um, when you introduce those kinds of experiences. And so this is probably a good place just to stop for a second. And have you talk about what is it that cooler screens does in pursuit of these better consumer experiences?

Arsen:

Well, so, you know, Peter is, uh, you'll probably know. I mean, you know, my background, I was a tech kid and then I grew up in tech and then I moved to 18 plus 19 years ago into a consumer business and, and having built a consumer brand and that each L brand, uh, over those years, uh, uh, I spent thousands of hours in the aisles of those retail stores, right? I mean, if I tell you, I spent 10,000 hours in the annals of Walgreens or seven 11, or, or a Kroger, that'll be an understatement. And, and what I saw, uh, continuously is that disappointment between consumers coming in, clearly looking for a lot more information, transparency, a lot more digital enablement of some of these experiences in a store, but yet, uh, they couldn't find that. So S it's a cooler screens idea has always been about what if there was a way to bring the best of the digital shelf, so to speak or the best of e-commerce capabilities, online, shopping into a physical store environment.

Arsen:

What if the augmented reality was not about a buzzword that no one really knows what it really means yet, but augmented reality was let's bring the best of digital insight physical, and let's give the consumers the best of both worlds, right? So now consumers can stand in a physical store with the best that that store environment gives them in a sense that they're right there, they can grab the product, they can touch it, they can smell it, they can check up immediate satisfaction, but yet, but they also get the benefits of shopping almost digitally, right? So that information accessibility, that transparency, that we're so much used to in an online world, you want to know the calories. You want to know the PR at a comparison with competitors that he views and songs, right? That everything, all the bells and whistles you go on amazon.com or walmart.com you'll find when you shop online, what if all that was available in a store?

Arsen:

So in short cooler screens brings the best of online shopping in a store. We win the hearts of consumers by digitizing different surfaces, uh, around the store. We started with the cooler and freezer aisle, converting those relatively ugly doors on coolers and freezers into this beautiful digital screens that provide the richness of an e-commerce like user experience. Uh, and we turned a physical shelf into a digital shelf inside the store. And, um, so that's what we do at cooler screens. We, we win the hearts of consumers, buy that technology, and we monetize the business by bringing contextually relevant advertising moments, promotional messaging from the brands to the consumers at that point of sale.

Peter:

So I see what you did with your company name. There were, which is, there are screens that are on the coolers, that's where you started so cooler screens, but also it's a cooler experience for the consumer. Am I right? That, that was in the room.

Arsen:

Yeah. The marketing play on the board. Yeah. Peter, we're now piloting with Alva foundational partner Walgreens, uh, in the healthcare section, in the pharmacy section where we find consumers just as they are really hungry and thirsty for information and that digital enablement in a food and beverage out there looking for the same thing in the pharmacy, Eileen OTC section, we're looking down the road to expanding to other sections from the beauty, with some of our other partners of Kroger or Walmart, we'll, you'll find cooler screens going into even electronics areas. Right. So, so I think we have, uh, ambitious plans about how we will digitize sections of the store, but the cooler freezer was the obvious place for us to start because kind of traffic in the perimeter is, you know, that the perimeter is where most of the traffic in the stores are. And, and to, uh, uh, just my personal experience, but having been a beverage guy, right.

Arsen:

I mean, I would see consumers come in and the first thing they do after they find the barely the product that matches the label, the price tag, and so on, they pick up, but let's say bottle of tea and they turned and they squeezed trying to read all that fine print on the back of it, just to figure out if it's, uh, if it matches maybe it's five grams of sugar or 50, right. Because maybe that consumer is driven by their dietary preferences or constraints right. In making their purchase decision. And those are kind of those simple moments of what is so much assumed to be. Uh, we take it for granted in an online world when we shop, but yet in a physical world, it's just difficult. We can find information that helps us shop better on, uh, maybe budgetary constraints or dietary constraints, or simply other preferences. Right.

Peter:

Well, when we talk so much, uh, in digital about friction, right. Friction in the buying journey and every, every distraction in the buying journey, or every question is an off-ramp from the purchase. Right. And so when I think of what you're doing in store, you, you now are really removing the friction in a way of the customer going to their phone, trying to find this out, and that can distract them. It can te they might not find what they need, whereas if they can actually just look up on the, on the door and see what they need, that's, uh, that's that removes the friction. And it also delights them. I would imagine.

Arsen:

Yeah. I mean, it's, it's almost like, as I said, when I will be on these Isles of the stores, right. It was, it was the daily observation. Consumers were literally standing with the cart in a Kroger, and yet they'll have their cell phone aside and there may be doing competitive price comparison, or they're leaving the views, or they're looking up a recipe on what to do with that frozen spinach as an example. Right. So, so, so it's, there's a friction that their consumer was begging for more information using their personal device in their hand, which obviously is an awkward experience versus having a seamless, frictionless experience as you call it, I'm shopping. And I have all of these information education, or maybe even promotion at some, in some cases when it's contextually relevant, while I am making my decisions about what to buy,

Peter:

You know, on the, on a broader sense, you know, we've talked a lot at the digital shelf Institute about the explosion in retail media, particularly the, the, you know, the new ad platforms online, um, whether it be at, you know, at a, certainly at Amazon being a multi-billion dollar example of that and, and, uh, platforms, uh, you know, uh, retailers adopting Critio to set up their own retailer ad platforms. This is really another dimension of that expansion of retail or media, right?

Arsen:

Yeah. I mean, I like to say what Amazon studied online is what cooler screens is now, uh, completing in the offline world, right? Yeah. I mean, Amazon is always a disruptor. They realize that they have created an incredible audience of consumers shoppers in their site, and that the, that those consumers are not there just to shop a lot of times, they need, uh, need to be nudged and educated to make those purchasing selections. Right. And so they've monetized that, and the detailed media only a few years ago was not a thing when we were talking about Allah dream and the passion that we will, uh, cooler screens will be the world's first and largest in-store digital media, retail media platform. Right. We're now, uh, we now actually have a word and a definition for it. It's called retail media, right? So cooler screens is building that detailed media platform, but, uh, just like Amazon date for the online world and now a bunch of others Instacart's dash doors.

Arsen:

And, uh, and of course, every individual retailer is trying to jump in with their e-commerce sites into that space. We were doing the other side, we're digitizing the 90% of the pie. I call it if the whole retail trade is roughly call it 10% steal online, and 90% steal offline would have going after the 90% were digitizing stores, uh, Obama at retail partners like Walgreens, Kroger, Walmart, and so on, we, we buy the technology of a digital merchandising platform is how we win the hearts of the customers, kind of those shoppers in the stores. And we earn their trust and the right to bring them those, uh, advertising moments that, uh, we very, very carefully and fanatically guards to be contextually relevant for them in a store. So,

Peter:

Yeah. And, and, uh, you know, so much, we talk about the, the way that speaking of Amazon or Walmart or their, their programs that because of their large audiences, they're, they're moving up the funnel, right. There's, it's, it's not just about converting someone to a sale at that moment. It's, it's all the way up to discovery. And, and, and I was wondering if you're finding that's the same in store with your, with your capability.

Arsen:

Yeah. I mean, uh, uh, you, you kind of alluded to this right at, for Amazon and, and frankly, now everyone else was rushing into the detailed media space in the online world that they're kind of the low hanging fruit was the search, right. People want to find widgets, well, why don't we just advertise them, give them to the top searches on the widgets, right. Then that's the kind of a very basic rudimentary Google model, but Don within your walled garden of Amazon or the Woolmark or sun, well, uh, but I think what we're finding as we have done with the internet and the overall with advertising, uh, to date that the consumers are not just looking for basic search, they want experiences, they want entertainment, especially, and that's kind of led us to the social that led us to the displays. Uh, and, and so, so now you take that into the in-store environment instead of this little screen that we got on our laptop or on our phone, we now have these beautiful, huge canvases.

Arsen:

We have this ability just like, uh, I mean, time square, like a form factor that right. So to speak, to be able to bring in really incredible immersive digital experiences for the consumers that are far beyond the search. So yeah, I mean, we have voice enabled the capability in a store. Consumers can ask, uh, uh, screens and say, Hey, show me all the gluten free products, right? So we have a search enabled type of ability. You can say, show me all the gluten free products, all the veg vegan products. And so-and-so really cool stuff brings the best of a gain audience.

Peter:

The consumer can actually stand at the, in the gluten-free or whatever and, and ask to be shown

Arsen:

And the product will get highlighted and so on. Right? So, so we have the search kind of, uh, interactivity there, but where the deal power comes in, you're now not looking at that soldier box of, I don't know, frozen pizza or some frozen product, but you're actually looking at this beautiful animated, uh, product card, if you will, on the digital shelf that telling you a story. So the brands now have an opportunity to tell a story they have, they can build these brand equity and the emotional connection with the product. So it's no longer just the pizza. Now, these, your nose stands for something, right. Maybe it's the legacy of their brand or the freshness or the ingredients, whatever it is, the brand managers brand marketers decided to do, or maybe millet core six pack again, that's so debox, that's sitting there shop by the DSD in a corner of a cooler.

Arsen:

Now that's space. It becomes a canvas for Miller cores, maybe in Chicago to talk about their support for the local teams, comms bears, right. Does that example, and the creates an association that Mila courses is the brand that supports my local teams, right? This is an example. These are moments of brand equity building, which then you couple, with that traditional on the shelf performance marketing shop or trade-marketing elements. Now you have this powerful combination, you build a brand equity simultaneously driving the sales and the performance and, and any now a case, we are blessed with the partnerships with novel retailers, where we get the food, reach data off the consumer purchases, and we can close completely the data, uh, at that cycle, the attribution of this media. So for the first time, uh, in a, in a world of physical, we can actually tell the brands if their media is working or not. Right. Those John, John Wanamaker says, uh, we know advertising works. We just don't know which half of it. We now know for the first time, which half of it will work.

Peter:

So I'd love to, cause I think, you know, you're working in a visual medium and here we are on audio. So I'd love to just dig into some more of those kind of use cases, the different kinds of experiences that you're working. You know, I don't know whether you can mention actual brands that are doing this or not. You've mentioned some that that seem to be working with you, but any way that you can kind of bring this to life for our audience. Yeah,

Arsen:

No, I mean, we're blessed that we have, uh, in a very relatively short period of time, basically about a year since we took this to on a commercial basis to market with partners with over 200 brands across the country. So there's basically not a big name brand that you would think of on that is not participating on a platform. But similarly, also a lot of young startups that previously would not have the capability to go, right. I mean, for them, the advertising going up at mass scale is out of reach, but here they're able to segment and target individually to one store or one region or, or across retail retailer platform. So, uh, so with the, with the 200 brands, there is a lot of planning, but with a lot of course, case studies, we have them published on our website. If any of you guys are interested and you can see that under case studies, uh, or outcomes, uh, section, I mean, there's some of them that come to mind, right?

Arsen:

I mean, w w I left in particular from Pepsi, or as, you know, it's, it's a very much of visual design driven brand that they've incepted. I mean, water is water at the end of the day, right? One can argue is just the ultimate commodity. So what, what is it that makes that particular brand and the bottle stand out on the shelf and the richness of the design with the animation in the display format that was able to come into this 4k screens at the large format. So they get the richness of that. Like I said, times square, kind of an out of home environment, uh, uh, impact of a big display video ad. But yet then being contextualized down to one individual product card where it disrupts the shelf audience, uh, as compared to the other competitors. And now their example, uh, which I guess, and that the only specific to the brand or another product line that we're very excited, I'm excited about is, uh, we, we call it native product filters.

Arsen:

So a lot of brands have really flocked to that individual specific product because it's like the Snapchat filter in social, but not for the products on the digital shelf. So not a product. The brand managers can apply this filters where maybe the, the bottle of Coke. Now it's not just a bottle of Coke. Now it's got a little sweat, the, uh, of the water coming down on a bottle, making, giving you that fresh bottle of Coke perspective, right. Or the perception or the bubbling it's now actually there is a, you can see the carbonation, right. Or maybe another fun brand, uh, is trying to have a wobbly, uh, element to it or, and so on. Right. So, or the monster drink we'll have, uh, we'll have, uh, little monsters or red bull when they have their parking lot. And you remember that red bull, uh, so the red bull did a really fun one. Uh, they ha they basically had the mine running around up, uh, red bull, uh, cans and the shelf. And that was just like a fun entertainment. Right. I mean, I, I saw kids like spending then just having fun, watching that. Right. So

Peter:

Let me make sure I understand this is in that moment, is the, I'm just trying to figure out if you're putting a filter over the actual physical bottles through the screen, or is it an animation on the screen

Arsen:

It's on the screen, right? I mean, when you come to a store, you would no longer looking through the transparent glass into the products. Right now, you're looking at this beautiful 4k screens that have the digital planograms. So the same shelf that's behind the door in now looks like a digital shelf. And once these, every, I mean, once this surface became this digital canvas, you now as a brand, you have the ability to bring life, to bring your products to life. You can put a motion, you can put fun, you can put this energy, right. You can bring that, uh, that, uh, brand building kind of, uh, emotional connection versus simply staring at the skew, which may or may not be faced, may not even be on a shelf. Right. So, so, so, so that's what, that's what really is, uh, like I said, I mean, you asked me, I kind of tried to visualize here in an audio, uh, some of these, uh, Snapchat, like filters, but applied to, uh, products and skews on a shelf, uh, in a story

Peter:

That's really cool. We will include the link to the Lifewater case study in our, in our notes. Uh, and that'll get you to the section on the cooler screens, uh, site, where you can see more of this. You know, you, you are saying, you talk about times square and in some ways, times square to me is overwhelming. When I go there, there's 19, you know, flashing screens. And it, it, I almost can't focus. Is there. Um, and also, is there audio, like, are we, are you in danger of turning retail stores into cacophonous, like, uh, sort of overwhelming experiences or is there some sort of, uh, measurement across, when does it differ by store? Like, how do you think about that?

Arsen:

Yeah, no, that's a, that's an excellent question, Peter, right? I mean, from the get, from the very beginning, from day one, I said, the guys, the store is, is a shopping environment. This is not a place where we were going to turn it into LA Vegas or time squared up just simply because we can't. Right. And there were previous attempts, as you know, Walmart had Walmart TV network. And I mean, it's thinking TV in a store that doesn't really bring anything to the consumers, right. They tend to think is going to start on knowing them that the ads are now becoming so pervasive and intrusive in our lives. So this is where the digital merchandising, the art of merchandising, or e-commerce like merchandising brought in a store environment. That's, that's the key. That is one of the key secret sources, if you will, of cooler screens, right?

Arsen:

So when you come in, you're seeing relevant ads, but there's those relevant contextually relevant ads. They quickly converting to digital shelf views or the planograms. So you now looking at the products and those products have these fun moments that to you will come across either educational, or you can have, let's say an Argo tea bottle, and you may have a label that says I'm organic, or I'm non GMO. I'm a, I'm more locally brewed information that usually in the past would be only available. If the shelf talkers and the paper ugly tags would be hanging up the bottle right now, it's all digitally enabled. Not for you as a consumer, that's not advertising, that's a native label and a CAG that allows you to make a better decision about maybe you want organic products, right? That's what you're looking for. So it's not a perception of an advertising, but rather education information that helps you narrow down your choices on, then you have these entertainment, like capabilities is almost where, like I said, the Pocky Mont on a can of Coke comes to life.

Arsen:

It's no longer just a picture of a red bull can, but rather it's a animated can where the red bull, uh, is, uh, is, is being playful with the [inaudible] promotion, as an example. And, and you could be standing at the PM and it's 80 degrees outside, and you might have a relevant, odd ad pop up with that, including your view that says, Hey, it's 90 degrees outside. Would you like to, uh, uh, to a triumph, a new, I don't know, Ben and Jerry's ice cream, right. Or high-end ice cream. And these are the moments where yes, it's a promotion. Yes, it's advertising, but it's relevant. You might be looking at the frozen spinach at a pro aisle, and you might get recipes on what would be your dinner tonight, and you can scan the QR code and have that recipe downloaded on your phone. So you now know what to do with that frozen ingredient, as an example of this kind of richness of, uh, interactivity information education that helps you figure out what is a better choice for you as a shopper has simply been unavailable. You nobody can afford the world, but yet in an e-commerce world, when you wear it on any.com, that's kind of a norm, right? I mean, you, your shop on it, any of those sites, there is a link to download the recipe. Why can't we have that in a story?

Peter:

I, I think of, um, I, I, you know, the, the Tom cruise movie minority report where he's going down the street and the billboard right above his head changes to something that's exactly for him, it has his name on it. If I remember correctly, um, it does, does this have the potential to get almost personalized? So at some point in the future, uh, you know, PR is privacy an issue, you know, how do you think about sort of the ultimate,

Arsen:

You know, you're asking the very loaded question here, which is, which also cuts into another thing that, for me, it's personally, it's very, um, I'm pretty passionate about the privacy side of this, because when I was getting into, uh, when, when I was starting the business, right, and I was trying to understand what is really the algorithm, what drives the digital media to a date, right? What has become obvious that the big media, big tech has become addicted to the personal, the PII, the whole personal data, the whole algorithm for some reason, was built on knowing that this is Peter or any linkable information out there from your IP to this and that, to, that can identify that it's Peter, and then look at your past history tween for what you might be interested in the future. And, and that's display you the ads, right?

Arsen:

Well, the reality is it gets creepy, right? We, none of us as humans appreciate that. Right. As much as I think the marketers in a, in a kind of a theoretical world, we thought everyone thought this one-to-one personalization and targeting is going to be so cool. Right. Well, did he out, uh, one, it doesn't work any better than what we are doing, which is what we call contextual targeting. Yeah. Too, it's not simple. It's just simply not cool because it's not that it's not okay by a lot of people. Right. I mean, at the minimum we, as humans, we need to have basic right. Or saying it's okay by us and ask my consent. And don't sneak that in as a ton of type of, you know, find print somewhere that I have to click on to get through. So privacy by design was at the heart of how we thought of the technology and of the business model.

Arsen:

And what we did is, uh, Peter, I challenged my data scientists. I said, guys, and helped me understand why do I really care if I'm trying to sell my beer or my tea to Peter? Why do I delete, you know, it's Peter, it doesn't matter to me. It's Peter, Jill or Jill. What I do know is that I want to know if within the context, context defined being w uh, it's 3:00 PM. It's hot outside, maybe. I mean, I mean, and the customer is dwelling for more than four seconds in front of the ice cream door. Right. I mean, frankly, you don't need a whole lot of data science. Maybe the customer is interested in, uh, in ice cream, right. Yeah. Right. So, and this is the beauty of doing this in a physical world with the technology where the intent is almost so obvious. Nobody walks into Walgreens or seven 11 or Kroger, just for sake of it.

Arsen:

Right. You're there to shop. We know we have the IOT sensors that only look at the motion and the, and the presence of the customers versus knowing or tracking if that Peter or geo, we can care less about that. Anyway, if you were in front of the ice cream door, and you're kind of telling me that it's your intent, I'm here for more than that six seconds. I'm not just staring at the ice cream for sake of it, right. I'm probably looking now, do I want strawberry or chocolate? And if it's 4:00 PM and the guy parked the truck outside and he's in seven 11 by the P beer door, probably he's going to grab his, uh, usual six pack. Well, what if, maybe with the way, I mean, beam Suntory did a really cool campaign with us that you probably know about beyond beer campaigns outside right now.

Arsen:

So they were trying to tell people, Hey, beyond beer at consider some of our spirits, right. And, or, or, or the same DiGiorno I mentioned pops up with and saying, Hey, why don't you bundle with your six pack of beer between four and 8:00 PM. It's probably a dinner time and grab the frozen pizza or the frozen dinner, and maybe even a special three 99 streaming from Netflix, right? Yup. So, or the, so the, so we believe in a contextual advertising model, which looks at that behavioral signals and the environmental signals together. And now the data scientists came back over the past three years. And they basically proven that we lift sales almost guaranteed at the levels that are far exceeding the whole old model of advertising, which is the one-to-one personalized IP or, or individual identity based. Right. And, and so we're seeing sales lifts, uh, across the board, Peter, uh, again, uh, uh, um, I, we never take it for granted and I'm, I'm very humbled about these results that we're able to bring to the brands that work with us. But, uh, we're seeing the stores in general, uh, uh, seeing somewhere between three to 5% incremental, same store sales lips, which you can imagine in a brick and mortar business, people kill for the quarter point sales lift course. Yeah. Talking about three to 5% in average. Wow. And the brands that, that, that advertise could see those lifts being nearly five to 10%, even double that, that, that rate of the total category lift. So that's, that's kind of my view on the privacy. Yeah.

Peter:

And well, and probably sorry, buried the lead, which is the growth percentages are fantastic. I mean, the fact that you can do that and still maintain privacy is, uh, is an incredible, uh, bonus to humanity,

Arsen:

Build your technology architecture without the need, without that addiction to data. Right. So the algorithm does simply doesn't use the data. So don't collect it. You don't need it, and then build a business model that can prove that you can create that value of that growth rate without needing the personal data. And that's what we've done with cooler screens.

Peter:

Yeah. And to your point context is much easier to, no, I'm not saying it's easy, but you're able to understand context much more deeply than someone who's shopping on Amazon. You know, you, you do have that proximity. You have the, you, you do know what's going on outside at the moment. So that's very cool. You know, I wanted to, um, I can feel the listeners who are not in the CP chat, CPG category, thinking like CPG gets everything first. Like they get all the cool stuff. Um, do you have a mad scientist plans for, for future, you know, when you're furniture shopping or when you're, you know, out looking at the data, tell me what, what you're thinking.

Arsen:

You mentioned briefly a little earlier, uh, we're excited about upcoming pilot lading. Uh, basically in, by end of June, we'll have a few pilots coming up in healthcare setting, uh, with Walgreens. Walgreens is our first big partner. That's not going to cross the country to thousands of stores. Right. So they ideally kind of are, are the, I mean, they are one step ahead, frankly, even though they were two steps behind, maybe on, in some ways with the holiday retail media and everything, but now they're taking big steps forward. Um,

Peter:

The blue Cagle on the, um, on the podcast, uh, just recently. Yeah,

Arsen:

Amazing. They, they came to us and they said, look, our cooler screens guys. I mean, we look that, I mean, we're a healthcare company at the end of the day. And, and a lot of patients that come, we see the point of care converging with point of sale, right? I mean the health clinics are now coming inside. The pharmacy COVID has accelerated this and you've seen the billion dollar investment Walgreen's made into a village MD. So a lot of health clinics are now being integrated into a pharmacy setting. So this consumers or the patients, when they come in, that we would love to be able to educate them and tell them about their health choices, healthcare, uh, options, right? Whether it's about the prescriptions or OTC drugs. I mean, as simple as a lot of people would come in and say, well, what's the difference between an Advil at elite, right.

Arsen:

Of which one is better for me? What are the side effects for that? Or ask your doctor about something so we'll know who is coming up. Uh, and, and, and what appointments are being, uh, being, uh, scheduled with the health clinic. So the screens will start giving the consumers the education so that when they do walk into the doctor's office, they can ask the questions that are relevant about their health, as an example. And all of these will lead. I mean, one, we hope, uh, clearly, uh, we hope with Walgreens that will lead to better patient outcomes because the patients will be much more educated that, uh, that the adherence to the drugs and the, uh, to the medications will be a lot higher and so on and so on. Right. And at the same time, we'll be able to bring in, uh, uh, an opportunity for all of these pharma and healthcare companies to actually differentiate themselves in the clutter of what the pharmacy could look like.

Arsen:

Um, we see a similar opportunity with the beauty section. Uh, I mean, again, Walgreens and the Kroger's and at Walmarts and all those, right. I mean, those are all environments where we see cooler screens can grow into. We recently had a walk through a bunch of stores with Walmart folks, and they are so smart, uh, just wicked smart people. And, and, and Walmart was seeing, uh, cooler screens applications in the electronics section, in the gaming section. I mean, you would go to the gaming section. I mean, the X-Box is the place stations and Nintendos, right. All locked up behind the cabinets. And this is exactly the area where the, those gamers, the shoppers, they would like to have any track activity. They'd like to have that digital experience before they make up their mind, if they're going to spend a hundred dollars on buying a particular game as an example. Right. So,

Peter:

Yeah, I can feel the brand managers and shopper marketers, like kind of freaking out over the possibilities here. It's really exciting. Um, arson, I just want to thank you so much for, for joining us and for discussing this innovation with you, I should ask, you know, is this a global availability right now, or is this, um, is this piloting in north America or how is it working

Arsen:

Right now? Uh, w so it's, w w where, so the, in terms of where we are today, but, uh, we, we are today probably about 15 to 20 million consumers are in front of the screens. That's the scale today. Um, by end of summer, when we get to have a first push of rollout installations with Walgreens and a giant Eagle, uh, good to go, et cetera, completed, we should cross 50 to 55 million customers, monthly audience size. So that's scale of a platform. And, and just to put that into context, right. Uh, I mean, uh, Amazon, I think 200 million or so people per month. So what kind of, uh, uh, jazz, the budget get quarter of that kind of a scale so quickly? Um, uh, it will be an all 25, uh, big DMS markets in the United States. Uh, w there will be installations next year in Canada, Toronto, et cetera, area as well.

Arsen:

So we'll expand into there. Um, we have bunch of pilots that are either already installed or ordering works with retailers, uh, in see channel convenience, channel gas stations, like Murphy's and others, uh, again, go with a giant ego, uh, or grocery implementations. And then, uh, I mentioned Walmart in the mask section. So it's, it's proliferating itself. I mean, uh, with a lot of the big names in the pain that you're telling us globally, uh, w uh, Peter, we get phone calls from seven 11, Japan, uh, or GS 25 in Korea. And, uh, just this morning from, uh, 700 and, uh, location, big group in France, right? So, uh, we are not there yet, but the ambition definitely that this can be a global platform. And, and, and I wanted this to be the destination, any brand, uh, media buyers, uh, and the brand managers, when they want to connect with the shoppers of America, or one day global shoppers they'll know that cooler screens is the place to click

Peter:

First mover advantage. I would say for anyone that, that, um, has the, the budget and the scale to, um, do experiment here, it sounds like an exciting time. So arson, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and sharing this with us. I really appreciate it. I've, I've very much enjoyed talking to

Arsen:

You. Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Peter:

Thanks again to arson for bringing his coolness to the pod. Please share this episode with your brand and shopper marketing colleagues. They'll thank you for it. And thanks to you for being part of our community.