Local startup seeks to disrupt digital advertising Trish Crompton July 23, 2013 Featured You walk into your favourite retailer and tap your phone on the digital display near the entrance. You’re welcomed back. Then you receive a customized list of promotions for that day. The future of the in-store retail experience continues to point to mass-customization with the aid of technology. WestonExpressions, a VeloCity company and previous winner of the VeloCity Venture Fund, has announced that its Linkett product is now available for pre-ordering. Digital screens, like any other form of advertising, often get lost in the visual noise that bombards consumers every day. Linkett aims to solve that problem by making it easy for retailers to create and deliver engaging and targeted content through mobile technology and digital signage. “In terms of the consumer, it really allows you to get instant coupons, apps, information — really whatever you want — at the tap of a phone, and have a much more personal experience,” says Douglas Lusted, chief executive officer of WestonExpressions. Motion and mobile capabilities can be given to any screen with a HDMI or USB outlet by simply plugging in the Linkett hardware. Through the use of NFC (near field communication) technology, the consumer can tap the screen and have content downloaded to their phone. The process is managed through an online platform. “We’ve developed a new technology, patent-pending as it’s never really been done before, and it’s much more affordable,” Lusted says. “Any person in marketing or any store can use it. “ Linkett allows the retailer to simultaneously test campaigns at different locations to find the best fit for each store. It creates campaign efficiency by delivering real-time analytics and the key metrics needed to measure success. There is no need for an IT department to oversee the systems and content because the package is easy to install and manage. WestonExpressions is offering free consulting to make the transition easy for pre-orders. After pivoting almost six months ago from the initial digital display technology intended for escalator handrails — the idea that won the VeloCity funding — WestonExpressions hasn’t looked back. “We started from scratch in January, and then in the first three months we had an MVP and prototypes,” Lusted says. “We’ve been trying to add people to the team as quick as possible. Right now, we have six full-time and a couple of part-time people, but we’re looking to boost up quite a bit in the next couple of months.” So far, Linkett has seen the most traction in retailers with a younger consumer base and existing loyalty programs. Lusted sees a wide variety of uses for Linkett. “We’re starting out with retail because they seemed to be early adopters and we really think we can help them really boost their consumer interactivity,” he says.