The Wall Street Journal reports that "a test by Walgreens of technology that replaced some cooler doors with digital screens that play ads has ended in acrimony.
"The digital screens’ vendor, Cooler Screens, is suing the pharmacy chain, saying that Walgreens obstructed an agreed-upon nationwide rollout of the internet-connected doors and demanded their removal from stores, according to court documents.
"Walgreens, meanwhile, says the technology from Cooler Screens didn’t work. The retailer said it ended its agreement with the vendor in February, according to the court documents."
The story notes that "Cooler Screens embeds sensors and digital screens into cooler doors that are programmed to play targeted ads to shoppers who walk past. The doors are meant to display digital facsimiles of coolers’ current inventories when customers come closer." But they reportedly were plagued by technical problems, and Walgreens has said that "Cooler Screens failed to generate sufficient advertising revenue."
- KC's View:
That last line is the key - the real objection is that the revenue stream on which Walgreens was counting turned into a trickle.
That said, these screens were annoying - visual noise that detracted from the product and did nothing to improve the shopping experience. They were a perfect example of how companies can be so focused on c creating new sources of revenue that they ignore what makes the experience better for shoppers. (I worry that the momentum behind retail media networks could lead retailers to make the same mistake if their priorities are focused on ad dollars and not on creating relational experiences that connect them to shoppers in meaningful ways.)
Somebody should've sued both Walgreens and Cooler Screens just for being irritating.