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Digital Storefront Displays Arriving In North Texas

Lauren Silverman
Glass-Media co-founder Daniel Black.

Forget neon signs and puppies in the window. Glass-Media co-founder Daniel Black says digital displays are what’s hot for businesses.

Window displays have played an important role for retailers for more than a century, and some techniques to draw in passer-byes haven’t been updated in decades.

“People are still way behind,” Black says. “You see digital marquees once and a while, neon signs that light up. The problem is they’re not very bright and they’re not connected to the cloud.”

Which means business owners don’t have the ability to update their content on the fly. With Glass-Media technologies, Black says stores will engage people on the streets in unprecedented ways.


Credit Daniel Black
A digital display at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center put up by Glass-Media.

“So let’s say you’re looking at a new apartment, and it’s closed, you can’t go into the leasing office,” he says. “Well now you can touch the window and use it like an iPad to swipe and see different floor plans, virtual tours, even input your email address directly on the glass.”

The New Storefront Is Social

Right now, Glass-Media uses in-store projectors to flash images and information onto projection film or a paper-thin layer of Plexiglas in the window.

“We’re starting to do digital marquees where we can showcase people’s yelp reviews and twitter feeds,” Black says. “Taking the best of online and putting it in their storefront.”

Glass-Media charges clients a monthly fee to manage displays and a one-time installment fee — which can be around $1,000 for a small business. Mattress Firm in Plano and Quadrant Investment Properties already use the technology – and dozens more North Texas stores will join in by the end of February. Black says retailers are looking for a return on investment that’s trackable.

“We now have cameras on our displays that measure ‘dwell time,’ eye ball tracking, demographics, car and pedestrian traffic, as well as mobile integration,” Black says.

The technology helps businesses track the consumers’ experiences from when they first look at an ad to when they come into the store and make a purchase.


Credit Daniel Black
Glass-Media’s technology works by putting projection film on the glass, or by projecting onto a one-eighth-inch Plexiglas display.

Tweaking For Return On Investment 

Digital displays aren’t an easy thing to do right, says principal analyst at Forrester Research Adam Silverman.

In 2013, eBay launched “shoppable windows” which allowed shoppers to select, order, and pay for items with PayPal in a window display. Silverman says it didn’t do so well because people didn’t want to do their shopping in public.

“So what eBay did was move that tech into the dressing room,” Silverman says. “Which has a better use case, it actually keeps her in the dressing room longer, it allows her to interact with the associate.”

It made sense to tweak the technology, and Silverman says all retailers will have to be flexible as they experiment with the new technology. Sometimes, the benefit might not be higher sales, but instead more engagement with a brand.

“Perhaps the reason to deploy is not to drive a transaction but to get someone to come in and cross the lease line,” Silverman says. “I think there’s going to be an opportunity in the future for retailers to find the right opportunity to deploy these technologies.”

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.