If you live in the US, there is a good chance that you have come across one of Vengo’s interactive digital kiosks at either a gym, hotel, train station, or retail store. These machines dispense products such as personal electronics, personal care and snacks to consumers, and in recent months PPE, and also provide brands with a unique opportunity to engage with their customers.
Like many companies, Vengo started to rethink their business strategy in March when COVID-19 restrictions were first being implemented. To learn more about their latest innovations, we caught up with Marci Weisler, Vengo’s Chief Commercial Officer.
Tell us more about Vengo’s inventory and what you offer to brands?
“Through Vengo’s network of over 1,400 interactive digital kiosks, brands are enabled to contextually connect their message to consumers in the places they go - gyms, colleges, hotels, office/co-working spaces. Not only can they run digital media, but they can also run interactive campaigns that capture data through surveys and opt-in email collection, often in exchange for receiving a product sample or an offer.”
Vengo recently introduced touchless shopping, can you tell us more about how this innovation came to fruition and how it works?
“We’ve been thinking about how mobile interacts with Vengo for a long time. With the onset of the pandemic, we knew that some people would not want to engage with a touchscreen interface, so our team rapidly developed a touchless extension.
Essentially, it enables the consumer to use their phone as a remote control for the Vengo machine and have the digital experience in their hand. By simply scanning the QR code on the screen the experience will launch in the phones’ browser. If the customer is buying or sampling a physical product, the mobile device will trigger the Vengo machine to dispense the item at the end of the digital experience.”
Traditionally, Vengo machines were found in gyms, colleges, hotels and offices. With your new expansion into grocery, what would you like buyers to know about your audience?
“We are excited to be expanding into grocery stores in Q4 through our partnership with National Entertainment Network (NEN), an entertainment kiosk operator located in over 15,000 locations across the US. This is a natural extension of our turnkey digital media platform, which includes Vistar, and impacts consumer purchase behavior. We will be adding screens atop of NEN machines to catch shoppers’ attention on their way into the store.
Consumer behavior has changed over recent months, and advertisers need their message to be where the consumer is. It’s undeniable that grocery stores are still key locations for consumers. Reaching consumers at the point of purchase, as well as along their path to purchase, is a great way for both endemic and non-endemic brands to drive consideration for products sold within stores and connect along their daily routines.”
Where do you see the digital out-of-home industry moving in the next 12 months?
“The next year will continue to fluctuate for the industry as people’s behavior will vary given the impact of COVID-19 and the rules for locations will be fluid. We have been tracking increases in retail sales via our machines each month and are seeing real growth in both location openings and transactions. It’s important to be nimble and quick to respond to these changes and continue to connect brands with consumers who are out of their homes in the places they are going, with the right messages at the right time.
As an example, we have rolled out PPE (masks, sanitizer, etc) in many of our kiosks and are seeing requests from brands to run targeted media adjacent to these items that enable them to promote behaviors that keep people safe in this challenging time. DOOH is not going away, it is evolving and the “digital” piece is critical for real time reaction - digitization is accelerating.”
What is the one thing that you wish more digital buyers knew about out-of-home?
“DOOH is very data-driven. It’s targetable and trackable, which is key to digital buyers. We can often run digital media without reformatting cross platforms as long as we ensure that the messaging makes sense in the specific location environment. For example, on a DOOH display you don’t want a CTA to click on a link, but you can often have a CTA that is a code scan, hashtag promotion or other. DOOH catches people’s attention on the go in contextually, relevant ways.”
What has been Vistar’s most valuable contribution to your business?
“We have been a proud Vistar partner from early on and value the relationship. Vistar has brought us advertisers that we would have not been able to reach on our own - either because we’re running a lean team, or because these buyers are solely focused on programmatic. Thanks to Vistar, we are able to capture incremental spend and scale more quickly than we’d be able to do on our own.”
What Vistar software capabilities do you find most useful?
“The platform is solid! We’ve used a lot of platforms and Vistar’s ease of use for content flow, approvals, reporting and creating PMPs is intuitive and it works.”
Why did you choose Vistar as a partner?
“Vistar has been at the forefront of the DOOH migration to programmatic. Vengo is at the forefront of connecting physical and digital, brands and consumers. We believe we are well aligned and both focused on growing not only our businesses but the industry as a whole.”