Retailers from Kroger to CVS have added screens to their coolers. But some shoppers say they’re making shopping harder.
Retailers like Kroger and Walgreens are installing screens on cooler doors to display ads.But some customers say the screens make it harder to shop and long for old-fashioned glass doors.TikTok videos show shoppers’ biggest gripes, from long ads to broken screens.
Big screens are taking over doors in the frozen and refrigerated food sections at retailers like Kroger and CVS. But customers on TikTok are pointing out a problem: They make finding items on your shopping list harder.
The screens have popped up in stores over the last couple of years. Many are created and installed by Cooler Screens, a company founded by a former Walgreens CEO.
Cooler Screens can update inventory in real-time, show ads to customers, and even use a camera and other sensors to figure out details about a shopper as they pass by and show ads tailored to them, the company has said. Cooler Screens says it plans to reach 200 million customers with its digital doors by the end of this year.
But some shoppers think plain old glass doors worked just fine.
TikTok user cinema_singularity said that he doesn’t like waiting for an ad to finish playing in order to see what’s actually in the coolers and how much everything is, he said in a video posted to TikTok earlier this month.
“You just have to wait for the ad to be done, just so you can see which drinks to get,” he says in the video.
“We didn’t need this,” he adds. “We had glass. It was fine!”
“Glass is pretty efficient at being see-through,” user trevercarreon said in a video posted in 2021.
The screens allow advertisers to target customers with ads for specific products, trevercarreon says in the video.
For example, he quotes a Wall Street Journal story, citing a marketing manager at MillerCoors saying that the screens could help the beer maker sell more beverages at drugstores like CVS and Walgreens.
“Because if Americans aren’t buying alcohol at their medicine stores, advertisers aren’t doing their f***ing jobs,” he says in the video.
User donwitmadness also took issue with the ads in a video posted this month and filmed at a Kroger store.
“You can’t just look through the glass door and find what you want,” he says, walking down an aisle of cooler screens as they alternate between ads and inventory. “You’ve got to sit through a five-second ad break.”
Cooler Screens, CVS, and Walgreens did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the TikTok videos from Insider.
User pjhackman pointed out a more basic problem with the screens. A 2022 video he posted shows one screen that isn’t displaying any of the food inside. Instead, there’s just a notice telling customers that the screen is out-of-order.
A quick opening of the cooler reveals a variety of frozen food inside, however, from corn dogs to burgers.
Have you encountered digital cooler screens while shopping? Let us know what you think. Reach this reporter at [email protected]