Are Smart Screen Doors the Future of Retail or Too Much Technology?

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Don’t be surprised if your next trip to Walgreens includes a smart screen encounter on the glass doors in the refrigerator or freezer aisle. The retailer is trying out new technology similar to an iPad experience in test markets across the country.

While Walgreens and the startup maker, Cooler Screens, are singing the praises of the new smart screen doors, customers aren’t warming up to the idea as well.

“The digital cooler screens at Walgreens made me watch an ad before it allowed me to know which door held the frozen pizzas,” one customer complained on Twitter. Another customer from Chicago said the technology felt intrusive. “We see advertisements literally everywhere, and now I have to go see it on the cooler? It’s unnecessary and I think it’s a turnoff.”

The screens use motion sensors and cameras to display what products are inside the doors, and include product information, pricing, nutritional facts, and special offers. The maker says it provides stores with the opportunity to modernize a shopper’s experience. On the flip side, the technology gives all-important advertising and revenue opportunities to brands and retail outlets, which may be the prevailing motivation.

Ads can be highly specialized for the time of day or even the weather. For example, an ice cream brand can opt to run ads on the door’s screen when the temperature reaches a designated high outside.  But many shoppers insist they prefer their routine of knowing where everything is at their store, getting in to find their groceries, and getting out quickly.

There are also invasion of privacy concerns, as some speculate whether the cameras are recording face technology and collecting information about your purchases. Of course this intrusion is nothing new, except for the location and delivery method. And the company’s maker insists there are no privacy issues of concern.

Cooler Screens has already attracted the interest of a number of prominent brands like Coke, Pepsi, Nestle, Kraft, Heinz, and Monster, and received heavy support from Microsoft and Verizon. The company hopes to expand their digital displays into the beauty, consumer electronics, and home improvement retail markets as well.

Are smart doors and point-of-purchase digital displays an inevitable part of our future? Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/12/business/walgreens-freezer-screens/index.html.