Smartify Helps SMBs Generate Digital Ad Revenue from Window Inventory

A new program from Smartify Media would help small business owners generate incremental revenue from what has traditionally been an under-utilized asset — the storefront window.

Through the Small Business Revenue+ program, businesses can now run ads on digital screens placed inside their front windows. Smartify provides the 55” Samsung digital screens, and businesses choose which ads they do — or don’t — want to display. Inventory for the program is accessed through Vistar Media, with Smartify managing all aspects of ad sales and then splitting the revenue with each business.

Businesses participating in the Small Business Revenue+ program also have the option to use Smartify’s screens to display their own branded content as a way to promote limited-time sales or other store events.

“Our goal is to make activation of our screens in storefronts as easy and handsfree for the small business owner as activating a banner ad on a website. This is a complete turn-key solution for the busy small business owner,” says Smartify Media CEO Joe Kunigonis. “All we need is electricity.”

Smartify’s new program is already running in New York City, with more than 50 stores participating. In addition to providing retailers with digital screens, Smartify also handles the installation and integration with its media network. Kunigonis says businesses can expect to start generating revenue from digital advertising immediately once they begin the program.

“We saw the challenges that businesses were facing with reduced foot traffic as a result of pandemic recovery and more recently the pressures on margins as a result of inflation and the economy,” Kunigonis says. “Whether it is an SMB or a large shopping mall, the core concept is the same: help these companies realize the media value of physical real estate by enabling them to immediately monetize it through our solution.”

The program is also available for property owners with vacant storefronts. In areas like Manhattan, still reeling from the fallout of the pandemic and facing a 30% retail vacancy rate, the program could become a lifeline to cash-strapped property owners. Smartify believes having bright screens showcasing high-quality content in vacant retail spaces could also help liven up “dead spots” on the streets of New York and other metropolitan areas. 

“We are seeing the formation of digital storefront marketplaces in each city, which allow SMBs to cross-market in synergistic businesses. For example, a fitness studio and plastic care business discovered each other and cross-advertise in each other’s locations,” Kunigonis says. “Our screens are dual-sided, allowing targeting of audiences inside the locations.”

The out-of-home advertising format is one that just a small percentage of small businesses have tried previously. Kunigonis says the value of Smartify’s new program—and the amount of revenue a business can expect to generate each month—depends largely on the physical location of a business’ storefront. Clearly, not all business locations are equal, and expected revenue is largely determined based on traffic, location, and data.

As far as the financial investment, Kunigonis says the costs for an SMB to participate are nonexistent. Outside of the price to lease a space, which businesses were already doing, there is no requirement for businesses to make any investment in Smartify’s program. The company assesses each property’s “media value” based on pedestrian and vehicular traffic data and pays for 100% of the cost of any required hardware, along with hardware installation and ongoing support. SMBs receive a quarterly payment based on the advertising displayed on their screens. 

“Based on the size of traffic [and] impressions that can be delivered at the location, an SMB can make a few hundred to over a thousand every month,” Kunigonis says. “The good thing is that retail media is an emerging digital ad channel and CPMs and ad demand within this vertical have been growing consistently.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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