Popspots is an Austin-based company that operates a network of smart AI-equipped displays at checkout counters, primarily in grocery stores.
CEO and Co-Founder Marlow Nickell recently told Digital Signage Pulse how Popspots uses latest DOOH and AI technology to increase sales at retail.
Where are your screens located and what do they offer consumers and retailers?
We installed our first store in Dallas during Fall 2017. Since then, we’ve grown our network to reach nearly four million Americans across the US with over 20 grocery retailers, 375 stores, and 2,100 digital signs. Popspots has achieved this rapid growth because our smart displays help grocers with far more than just marketing.
For example, out-of-stock products in the checkout aisle alone cost grocers $550 million every year. Popspots displays use artificial intelligence to automatically track products and ensure they’re always in-stock. That’s one of many reasons why grocers that install Popspots are lifting sales by over 20% at the checkout.
You said your screens are located at checkout. Does that mean that brands advertising on Popspots network are those that can be purchased at checkout? If not, how do your screens impact sales?
The short answer is that we run campaigns for nearly every type of advertiser.
Brands that have products at the checkout have a unique advantage because their product is an arm’s reach away. However, we also run campaigns for products located throughout the store like Hormel, Bimbo, and Post. Businesses outside the store, such as Metro PCS, Netflix, and State Farm also advertise on our network.
For brands that are in-store but not carried at the checkout, we don’t expect consumers to get out of line after watching an ad. Instead, the goal is compel the consumer think of those products during their future visits, which average 6.4 times per month.
Most in-store CPG brands already spend a fortune on conventional channels (tv, radio, etc.) where the viewer isn’t anywhere near the grocery store.
For businesses outside of the grocery store, we’re equivalent to advertising on any other digital screen, except we offer 100% viewability, verified impressions, engagement tracking, and a brand-safe environment.
You mentioned helping retailers with product management. How does Popspots platform accomplish this?
Retailers use our web platform to manage their product placements in the checkout aisle. When they make changes, our system notifies the appropriate store managers and tracks compliance over time. The system also automatically monitors stock rates to help stores keep products in-stock. On average, Popspots Merchandising cuts ‘out-of-stocks’ in half within four weeks, which translates into a 9% increase in sales.
Your website lists several major brand clients including Pepsi, Red Bull and Hershey. Can you provide an example – a mini-case study, perhaps – of how Popspots helped one of these brands?
Everyone in the ad industry knows that strong creative is essential to a successful campaign, but it’s often challenging to understand what’s working and what isn’t. We wanted to see if we could help advertisers address this problem. Last year we challenged our engineers to develop a way to track consumer engagement.
Popspots developed an ‘engagement score’ and started testing it on active campaigns last summer. The results were compelling. Not only were there statistically significant variations in engagement between campaigns, but those variations were directly correlated to differences in the campaign creative.
By applying the same methodology across all of our campaigns, we’re now able to advise our clients on best practices for their creative and adapt in real time when the ads are underperforming.
One of the first clients that tested these features was Bimbo, the world’s largest baking company. They ran a campaign for their Sweet Bread product line in our Hispanic-focused stores in Dallas–Fort Worth and achieved phenomenal results. Their creative met all of our best practices and ultimately achieved an ‘A’ engagement score. Most exciting, though, they were able to achieve a 14% sales lift from the campaign on Popspots network. That’s nearly double the lift we typically see for in-store brands.
Who are some of your leading repeat advertisers?
Pepsi, Red Bull, and Mars Wrigley.
How do you measure results? Do you offer real-time reporting?
Advertisers can monitor results in real time on our web platform. For each campaign, they can track video plays, verified impressions, consumer engagement, and reach.
We also offer custom reports for advertisers that want to see demographic data on the consumers they’ve reached. In addition, we’re about to give advertisers the ability to create campaigns on their own from our platform. They’ll be able to adjust geographic targeting, campaign runtime, and impression delivery based on their budget.
Do you do your own ad sales?
We have an internal sales team that works directly with in-store brands as well as regional advertisers, but we prefer to work through sales partnerships whenever possible. We partner with out-of-home media companies, agencies, and media buyers. Popspots is also integrated with programmatic DOOH platforms like Vistar, Adomni, PlaceExchange, and Rubicon.
Does Popspots plan to expand beyond grocery stores?
Absolutely. We believe digital-out-of-home will continue enjoying significant growth in the years ahead, especially as the adoption of programmatic DOOH buying accelerates. We hope to participate in that growth as much as possible.
We’re currently focusing on grocery retail because our industry connections give us a unique advantage. In addition, grocery is the highest traffic segment in retail. But there are many other environments that we would like to explore.
To know more about Popspots, visit: https://getpopspots.com/
To learn about DPAA, go to: https://dp-aa.org/