By now, most people reasonably expect their buying habits to be obsessively tracked online. But in 2019, online tracking is no longer enough for advertisers.
In an inevitable, yet nonetheless dystopian, turn of events, Walgreens is currently testing a new program that allows its cooler doors to track customers via camera and motion sensors and then serve them targeted advertisements in real time.
Using technology from a startup appropriately named Cooler Screens (tagline: “a cooler way to shop”), Walgreens recently introduced digital cooler doors to six stores across the country. Instead of using perfectly adequate transparent glass, the doors now look like touchscreens (though they don’t react to touch), with digital renderings of the goods that are inside.
The doors are embedded with technologies like a camera, motion sensors, and eye tracking to help advertisers understand who is standing in front of their products. In real time, the software analyzes the “anonymized” data and serves up ads based on parameters like gender (creepy), age, emotional response (extra creepy!), and how long you’ve been lingering in front of a certain product.
Cooler Screens is reportedly working with 20 of the largest consumer product companies including Coca-Cola and Nestlé, but any company can buy banner ads and dynamic, full-screen ads to display on the doors.
The idea is that this information can help companies serve more contextualized advertisements to the right people at the exact right time (If you’re buying a vegetarian frozen dinner, perhaps you’d like a kombucha half off, too?).
Cooler Screens and Walgreens frame the technology as a frictionless improvement for the customer experience, but let’s be real—it’s just another way to encourage customers to spend more money. With the emergence of Amazon Go, which uses cameras and sensors to replace the traditional check-out process, something like Cooler Screens was only a matter of time.
Via: Fast Company