Kroger’s Fred Meyer chain has been gradually updating its electronics department with interactive in-line displays that employ tablets to communicate brand- and product-specific content, as well as track engagement and conversion even after shoppers leave the store.
Available at 12 of Fred Meyer’s 132 stores, the displays spotlight various products – such as Amazon’s Ring and Alexa home devices, Google’s Nest SKUs, and House of Marley headphones – by allowing shoppers to slide rail-mounted tablets under each device to automatically call up a display of detailed information and videos about the item. Created by OnQ, a Hayward, California-based technology and retail display company, the solution also lets shoppers input their email or phone number, or scan a QR code, to receive product details.
Northwest mass merchant Fred Meyer first engaged OnQ a few years ago to learn more about the tech company’s solution and how it could help better present products in the retailer’s home automation section. Fred Meyer then worked with OnQ to roll out the solution to one store in December 2018, four in 2019 and seven in 2020.
“Particularly with category management displays, there’s always been this need to figure out how to bring all that amazing rich content – reviews, setup videos, instructions and comparisons – into a static display,” says Paul Chapuis, OnQ founder and chief executive officer. “What I love about this display, philosophically, is that this is a retailer working really hard to present all these products in a beautiful way to the customer, and bring together a physical, great, kinetic retail experience and all that amazing content you normally only get online.
Beyond the shopper-facing experience, the displays also monitor and capture engagement. “I like to call us the Google Analytics of the in-store experience. A lot of the data that we’re collecting is very similar and it’s just as fine-grained,” says Jason Seed, OnQ’s chief technology officer. “As soon as somebody comes up and gets in front of [a device], we understand that as a start of a session and we’re recording every touch, every video watch, everything they browse on, and everything they pause on during that experience.”
Brands therefore can the compare dwell times of different videos and swap out content to test relative effectiveness. Also, while brands can’t get specific information about a competing brand, they can get benchmarking details to see how shoppers are generally interacting with the display as a whole.
Since the QR code is unique to each individual session, OnQ is able to monitor behavior (without tracking the individual) even if shoppers do not submit their phone number or email address, Chapuis explains. Thus, the company is able to know when and where someone scanned it, allowing OnQ to monitor what display and products are getting the most interest. They are also able to track engagement on the content shoppers send themselves. All content shoppers receive – either via phone number, email or QR code – will also contain a link to purchase the product via FredMeyer.com.
“Of course we want to present the customer with all the information they need to make a decision right there,” Chapuis says. “But, we do recognize that, especially for more complicated or more expensive products, often somebody makes more than one trip or wants to come back later. So we want to maximize the likelihood that somebody comes back to that retailer to purchase the product even if they’re not in the store.”
The displays have proven successful, with featured products enjoying nearly triple sales lift, according to Chapuis, who could not comment on the possibility of a wider rollout at Fred Meyer.