First Look: Wal-Mart Canada

As I was driving back home tonight, through the soupy November fog, it gradually sunk in … I’ve become a digital signage nerd.

I drove all the way to outer, outer, outer Hamilton to have a look at the screens that were lit up this week in one of three Wal-Mart SuperCentres being installed with screens by Toronto’s ShopCast. I’d hope I had something better to do on a Wednesday night, but …

First impression – these freakin’ stores are huge, as in a regular Wal-Mart with a Canadian Tire and a Loblaw’s bolted on the sides. And though it was located what seemed like well beyond known civilization, the store was filled.

This looks to be an early stage, shakeout install for Shopcast, put together by Stuart Kirkpatrick and the team at Kitchener-Waterloo-based DDC. Kirkpatrick and some of his colleagues have been at this game since Confederation, and it’s great to see all those years of scratching away and cutting the industry road finally paying off.

Ultimately, as mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Wal-Mart stores will be populated with large screens around the stores, on nine different content channels, plus a checkout channel. In this phase, it’s just the checkouts.

I was pretty skeptical going in, as the screens at the checkout thing never seems to make much sense.

But this one is well thought out, with large 32 inch NEC LCDs suspended from the ceiling between and just beyond the checkout lanes. ShopCast has hung eight of them along the lanes, and the content is — hurray! — full screen and just marketing messages.

The content isn’t driving specials or third party advertising, but instead talking about Wal-Mart in the community, and pointing to store services. That makes a lot more sense than running with some faint hope that people will get in line, see a store special humped on the screen, and then bolt the line to go look for sale items.

It’s also the one area in a Wal-Mart where a marketer has a chance to run spots with a little more time and meat to them. Out on the floor, I suspect the spots will be short and snappy. It will be interesting to see those screens come on stream when this goes into full roll-out.

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One Comment on “First Look: Wal-Mart Canada”

  1. Donna Says:

    What else can walmart put on these screens? They have such a poor reputation as a corportate citizen.They are spending lots to improve the publics opinion on them.
    Not going to work in my opinion.


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