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Bringing ‘likes’ to store shelves

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A simple yet innovative media device being tested by Insignia Systems Inc. puts the power of social media on the store shelf and provides a new way to foster consumer engagement.

Insignia Like Machine at BashasCalled The Like Machine, the device features a large button that shoppers can press to indicate that they “like” a product, and the unit’s digital counter shows how many likes that item has garnered. The device attaches to the shelf right beside the product.

“It is simple. We have created an easy and immediate way for shoppers to express their opinions about what they’re buying and to be informed by the decisions of others in their neighborhood at scale,” commented John Gonsior, president and chief financial officer at Minneapolis-based Insignia Systems. “It is a powerful indicator whether shoppers are buying cereal, laundry detergent or orange juice, and a unique new data set for retailers and manufacturers to leverage.”

Through the first six months of beta testing in 40 Bashas’ and Food City stores, The Like Machine has generated more than 480,000 shopper endorsements, according to Insignia. The company noted that the The Like Machine begins to answer a question that social media marketers have been grappling with for years: What is the value of a like?

“Bashas’ continuously seeks feedback from our customers and strives to make the shopping experience better throughout our family of stores. The Like Machine gives customers a way to easily express their feedback, while at the same time helping us to better understand neighborhood preferences throughout our market,” stated Dave Vehon, category manager at Bashas’.

Other retail clients of The Like Machine include ShopRite and SpartanNash, as well as a range of leading CPG companies, including Kellogg’s, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, PepsiCo, Del Monte Foods, General Mills and Michael Foods.

Consumers say the likes collected by a product via The Like Machine are almost like product reviews, and they note that the device provides a way to inform retailers to keep products they like in stock.

Insignia describes its mission with The Like Machine as empowering shoppers to express and decide wherever commerce takes place in a physical location, with “Social In Store” as its slogan. “We believe the power of word of mouth can be translated from online to the shelves of stores,” the company said on its website.


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