Retail Transformation

Retail Deserves Better Than Cable

Casper Fopp Casper Fopp 2 min read
Retail Deserves Better Than Cable

Retailers all over the country are battling over customers, spending a ton of money to get them through their doors – just to realize that when shoppers are finally in their stores they don’t have much to offer in terms of a great customer experience. A simple way of creating a positive atmosphere is Ambient TV – but how can you do that?


One of our favorite lunch spots is a very well-run sandwich shop right down the road. We usually chuckle about the three TVs inside the establishment – showing random daytime programming on mute and sometimes just a black screen with the cable provider’s logo on them. People don’t realize how much ESPN doesn’t work without sound until they’ve experienced it. And subtitles aren’t a solution, they’re merely another distraction on an already cluttered screen.


News channels are a huge downer and I don’t want to be bothered with stories about the next recession, civil wars, a food scandal with heavy E. Coli outbreak, and how many people were killed by streetcars because of Pokemon Go while I’m eating my lunch. That’s why most retailers put on sports channels – well, it doesn’t hurt anybody, right?

Wrong! It hurts your business. 50% of your shoppers simply don’t care and start ignoring the screen – a lost opportunity to convey a real message. Sports are a personal thing (just like news) and they happen on demand on consumers’ smartphones, not on public screens. And just because they don’t upset anyone, doesn’t mean they’re a successful tool. The screens could be used to create atmosphere, to engage, and to subtly up-sell and cross-sell.

What irritates me most are the commercials on these screens. Some are for cars, insurance, and pharmaceuticals. But others are for Subway, Pizza Hut, the mom’n’pop down the street, the “home of the 15 minute lunch”, and a plethora of other offers from directly competing businesses. By this time, I’m thinking to myself:

What kind of business would pay money for technology that allows competitors to advertise right on their premises?


And still retail businesses show cable TV in their stores – simply due to the lack of alternatives. The good news is that Ambient TV can be affordable and very easy to roll out.

Ambient TV has to take your shoppers’ dwell time into account and provide programming that exceeds at least the average dwell time to avoid repetitive content. When paired with other in-store technology such as endless aisle catalog kiosks, Ambient TV increases average ticket size, sells more, and makes for a better customer experience – turning consumers into customers.