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Cooler Screens plans to use AI to change how consumers shop

The freezer aisle at your local grocery store could have a completely different aesthetic soon as Cooler Screens — a smart screen developer — aims to integrate AI into display cases to advertise to in-store customers.

Cooler Screens CEO Arsen Avakian sits down with Yahoo Finance to discuss the services this technology will provide to consumers:

"Shoppers have been accustomed to static, analog, digital, paper signage in their stores during their shopping. So we built a technology that, just like Google or Netflix, it's understanding what people are interested in when they are shopping in a store, and it's providing relevant content that is dynamic, and it's appealing, and it helps hopefully people to find products that appeal to their either budget constraints or their dietary needs or any other consideration..."

Avakian explains how the technology works and how big names in the food industry are responding to this opportunity.

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For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Editor's note: This article was written by Luke Carberry Mogan.

Video transcript

- Well, next time you're shopping for ice cream at your grocery store, the aisles might look a little different. Cooler screens is using AI to transform the way shoppers see ads in stores. For more, let's welcome in the CEO Arsen Avakian.

Arsen, I guess my first question would be, why? For lack of a better question. In other words, you know, I don't think many people looked at their coolers in their grocery stores and thought, man, I wish there were some ads there.

But, obviously, you saw an opportunity. How did that sort of come about?

ARSEN AVAKIAN: Hi. Good afternoon. Thanks for having me. Look, it's really not about the coolers or anything else.

The in-store marketing has been left as one of the last untouched areas for digitization. So technology inevitably is finding its way to bring the power of digital into a physical world. And we started in the beverage aisle.

But we have implemented that across the whole store giving ability for shoppers and retailers and the brands to connect in a way that actually is a lot more relevant and powered by the tech and AI behind it.

- And when you digitize sort of the surfaces of the freezers, what is the benefit exactly to the consumer?

ARSEN AVAKIAN: So think about this through the lens of a search engines or your Netflix TV at home. You want to see information that's relevant to you, right? Your household sees the shows that are recommended to you that make sense to you.

Similarly, the search results that come up in your browser. In a very similar fashion, shoppers have been accustomed to static analog digital paper signage in their stores during their shopping. So we built a technology that just like Google or Netflix is understanding what people are interested in and when they are shopping in a store, and is providing a relevant content that is dynamic and it's appealing.

And it helps hopefully people to find products that appeal to their either budget constraints, or their dietary needs, or any other consideration that people have usually when they consider products in stores.

- Arsen, what kind of demand are you hearing about from the advertisers, from the companies here? I know you guys have a deal with Kraft Heinz. What about other big food companies? How are they seeing this?

ARSEN AVAKIAN: Yeah, sure. We have over 200 active advertisers on the platform. The value is really nothing new that we're inventing in-store marketing has been done forever, right?

All we did is we saw the need that, bringing that analog marketing into the new age of digital will give the marketers the ability to understand the performance of their advertising buys. It will help them to understand those micro segments and those opportunities to connect what I say intent with the content and drive the performance that is incremental to their businesses.

- And Arsen, what happens, though-- you're shopping, right? What happens if the item you see on the display isn't in the actual freezer?

ARSEN AVAKIAN: Well, so for the form factor, you're referring to on the coolers and freezers. We've built a clever vision AI capability. So there are cameras on the back of the screens that are constantly scanning what products are on shelf and which ones are not.

And as a result of that, we're always able to tell the shoppers what's in stock, what's out of stock. And that also informs the brands if they should be promoting or not. I mean, if I'm out of Diet Coke, perhaps, I can connect with the shopper and promote the regular or Cherry Coke. And not let the competitor Pepsi take over, right? As an example.

So those are all different use cases. But vision AI is giving us a similar proxy, if you will, capability that websites obviously benefited on. When you shop on Amazon or any website, you always know what's in stock, what's not there. They're not going to show you anything that's not available. And that capability is now coming to a physical environment.

- Arsen, really interesting tech. Thanks so much for taking the time to walk us through it. Appreciate it.

ARSEN AVAKIAN: Of course.