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Wal-Mart’s Newest Advertising Strategy: An In-Store Ad Network

By admin | January 30, 2009

Wal-Mart has taken an innovative approach to in-store advertising.

The plan is to install an in-store advertising network on 27,000 screens designed to constantly stream video ads from anywhere within the store. In this set-up, the retailer has complete control over managing the ads.

What is the Smart Network? The ad network can easily be altered everyday at the retailer’s discretion. For instance, if it rains, the retailer can adjust the network to broadcast umbrellas and raincoats throughout the many different areas of the store.

Can it really boost sales? There are lingering questions about how effective the Smart Network will be: Will Wal-Mart customers actually spend time watching all of the ads on the screen?

The fact is that most shoppers just want to get inside, get what they need as quickly as possible and then leave the store. Shoppers can experience so many distractions while shopping – talking to their children or talking on the cell phone – that they are unlikely to see every item broadcasted.

This raises the question: Just how effective will the in-store ad network be?

Keeping track of purchasing trends.  Traditional advertising utilizes a range of tools which includes metrics of drtv, ratings and engagement metrics. Measuring will be easier with this new network. The Wal-Mart Smart Network can help monitor the store’s cash receipts, and it can tell retailers which ads are generating the most sales.

If a spot runs in one department and the register receipts show an increase in sales from that department within the same time segment, the Wal-Mart ad team will know for sure. Even so, there is no definitive way to know for certain whether the customer watched the ad before buying an item – a shopper could have made a purchase without even seeing the ad display.

The true effectiveness of the new Wal-Mart in-store ad Network remains to be seen.

Topics: drtv, media buying | No Comments »