Bridging The Gap Between Brands And Retail Shoppers

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Here’s something we like to see.

In an effort to help brand marketers communicate more effectively with retail consumers at the time when they are making buying decisions, Vancouver media company tava touchpoints is bringing in-store digital media screens down to eye-level, where they’ll be noticed (something DailyDOOH has long recommended. Ed.), adding interactivity, and turning on Pulse Analytics, a sophisticated audience measurement report that tracks the activity and success of in-store digital marketing programs.

Alex Karch, tava touchpoints president, says that the future of digital signage does not lie with advertising and marketing screen networks installed on flat panel screens suspended from high ceilings or mounted on available wall space.

“If those screens are not carefully positioned, they will have limited success in engaging consumers,” says Karch.

“Industry experience tells you that approach doesn’t work unless the execution is perfect,” she says. “We’re using technology that gets the screens down to eye-level, where people see them, and we’re developing compelling, useful content that engages and educates consumers.”

During summer ’09, tavatava established a partnership with Toronto-based Planet-Tek Systems, which operates a successful network of shopper-focused advertising screens in Canadian and U.S. locations of organic grocer, Whole Foods Market. tava is using the company’s EcoStream and interactive EcoTouch display units, which are built using eco-friendly material, use minimal energy consumption and have Apple technology driving them.

By using displays that are part of custom pedestals or ready for mounting on shelves and high-visibility aisle ends, brand marketers can promote products and educate shoppers using integrated touchscreens.

Part of the Planet-Tek partnership incorporates the use of audience measurement technology developed by Markham, Ont.-based CognoVision, which uses sensors and automated biometric face detection tools to count shoppers who look at screens. Through CognoVision’s measurement system, Pulse Analytics Reports are generated to provide audience analytics that break down how long people look, and parses the audience numbers by such things as time of day and even gender.

tava touchpoints was born this year out of a growing frustration with traditional mass media, says Karch, whose background is in print media sales and marketing. (She owns the company is association with several private partners).

“The marketplace is saturated with marketing noise, and most of it is irrelevant to consumers, and doing very little for the brands,” she says.

“We are not in the business of capturing as many eyeballs as possible. We are in the business of delivering compelling programming and relevant marketing that educates and entertains the consumer, and has a quantifiable impact for retailers through sales and shopper experiences.”

tava touchpoints is currently in active discussions with chain retailers, with two models under consideration: ad-based digital programming in which the company will deploy, operate and sell media time; and private retail networks in which tava will operate and manage content programming on behalf of the retailer.

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