Google and Coca-Cola have created a system that's able to show shoppers personalized messages on an in-store advertising terminal by scanning key data from their smartphone as they walk nearby. The software runs on Chrome OS, using Chrome Kiosk as a back end. Coca-Cola did not specify exactly how it detects nearby devices or what data is pulled from them, content to say that Google's Eddystone smart beacon technology is involved. The end result is that a user's advertising profile for DoubleClick is pulled, and then the profile is matched up with relevant ads for nearby products, or in-store advertising. Since the software can run on any Chrome OS device, it can be run on just about any kiosk design with room to integrate a Chromebook or Chromebit, or an HDMI-enabled display receiving data from a nearby Chromebook that's hooked up remotely.
The kiosk program can show all sorts of personalized content, which means that it can go well beyond store endcaps. One example that Coca Cola named in their press release is interactive displays at cinemas; customers could see trailers that may appeal to them as they walk nearby. Digital menus at restaurants were also mentioned. Other possible use cases, like ads outside storefronts and music videos at a music store are also possible. Naturally, screens hooked into this application could be placed just about anywhere, including places like bus terminals and arenas where an advertiser could have a captive audience.
Work on the idea began back in 2015, with the first prototype coming out of the factory in the fall of that year. In testing so far, the terminals have been met with stunning success. In a one-month pilot testing run inside 250 Albertson's stores, the machines managed to make a total return on investment and essentially pay for themselves. This successful pilot, of course, means that they will start making their way out to a wider audience in the near future. Coca-Cola has not announced when the machines will start rolling out or where shoppers can expect to see them. Given the extremely wide swath of potential use cases, it's safe to say that these could pop up just about anywhere.