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New digital screens boost sales and security at IGA stores

Impax Media system capitalizes on shoppers waiting at checkout

A digital advertising system designed to boost retail sales and fight shoplifting will make its debut at a large independent Quebec supermarket next week. Designed and developed by Montreal-based Impax Media, the system revolves around double-sided, high-definition digital monitors. Mounted on retractable gates near checkout counters, the monitors display branded ad content and customized messaging such as news, recipes and in-store promotions that shoppers can watch while waiting at the checkout. When lowered, the monitors block access to closed checkout lanes. "Our system is first and foremost a loss prevention device that deters people from exiting where they shouldn't," explained company president Stephen Kucer. "It also helps to increase spontaneous purchases by creating a want and demand among people in the checkout line, which is the holy grail for advertisers because they have a captive audience for nearly three minutes on average." An added bonus, noted Kucer, is that there’s no purchase or installation costs for merchants. Revenues will instead be generated from the ad sales to national marketers who Kucer said are eager to display their wares in the 12 segments that will be displayed on the monitors in repeating three-minute loops. "The only cost to retailers is plugging it in," said Kucer, a McGill University-trained mechanical engineer who has developed popular retail security systems such as the U-scan express self-checkout, and two- and one-armed entrance security systems (the aptly-named Sherriff and Deputy) currently being used by such major retailers as Super C, IGA, and Canadian Tire. Kucer said he has deals in the works with several major advertisers and retailers, including IGA and some independent grocers. The Impax Media system will make its market debut next week, when five monitors will be pressed into service at the Pasquier grocery store in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a half-hour drive southeast of Montreal. Another seven will be installed in Aug. at the store, which has 23 cash registers and 90,000 square feet of retail space. "I was sold on the idea right away," said Mario Paquet, the second-generation owner of the store, which is the largest independent grocer in the province. "I find the system to be innovative, practical, and esthetically pleasing," he added. "Blocking closed lanes with monitors that display ads will be a nice change from having to use chains and shopping carts."

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