Does retail need its own media? Organised retail appears to think so. Shoppers' Stop has TV screens running its own and displayed brands’ ads. Future Group has set up Future Media, which has so far launched Future TV and a print magazine called My World.
“Future TV is aimed at converting footfalls to eyeballs and then sell those eyeballs to a brand," says Partho Dasgupta, CEO, Future Media. It recently tied up with Times Now for news capsules. It is like any TV station with different feeds "except that sometimes we may have localised content to suit the audience visiting that area."
Unlike TV viewing at home where advertising has a captive audience, he says in-store TV has a floating audience that glances at the screen for a few seconds. “Plus, since the ambience is noisy, the ads must be visually appealing.” He points to Wal-Mart TV, the fourth-largest TV network in the US. Though Future TV is present at most Pantaloon and Big Bazaar outlets: "we also offer it to allied partners with consumption spaces across India."
Besides big retail, consider what LeagueOne (Delhi), a new entrant in the in-shop advertising space, has launched: a seamless combination of video display units (VDUs), promotion counters, kiosks, in-store promotion services, and cross-branding and product sourcing options.
LeagueOne plans to build a large chain of networked retail outlets with solutions for brands based on outlet and consumer segmentation. It will approach traditional and independent retail outlets—including kirana stores.
Rajiv Gupta, LeagueOne’s promoter and MD, states, “Most other companies are looking at ads through their display modes, while our one-minute messages will be multi-faceted, delivering video, brand and impact windows.” LeagueOne is currently present across 300 stores and outlets in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida; and at Chandigarh, Mohali and Ludhiana.
By March, it plans to cover 34 towns and 5,000 outlets. Could we perhaps be seeing the beginnings of dedicated retail-based media? Retail revenues are expected to grow to Rs 2,00,000 crore by 2010. P Anupam, centre manager, Inorbit Malls, agrees: “Though it presents us with a huge opportunity, the technology is too new to know whether it is a success or not yet.”
Global studies, including Wal-Mart’s, confirm that nearly 70 per cent of buying decisions are taken at the point of purchase. And that the conventional modes of TV, print and outdoor advertising are non-involving and non-interactive.
The potential exists and perhaps that’s good enough to build on for now.