Retail Centers: Maximize Revenue, Minimize Headaches

Author Ajay Kapoor

Retail center advertising was turned upside down with the closing of Lightbox and the shuttering of revenue across 300 Retail Centers (Centers) and 4,000 screens. For some of the largest center owners, they have the staff, resources, and leverage to run an advertising network in-house.

But what is the strategy for the rest? As Albert Einstein once said, “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.” 

Owners Can Maximize Revenue While Retaining Control 

The opportunity is for center owners and operators to grow revenue in ways that give them control. By owning the equipment and software deployed across their center using best-in-class solutions for programmatic advertising, owners can maximize revenue and NOI.

In addition, they can select decide on local advertising partners based on who has the best presence and capability. When an owner can control the way the technology and the inventory is used, they can maximize revenue for themselves without needing to add staff to do it.  

Legacy Model of Outsourced Advertising with Free Equipment Is Collapsing 

In the legacy model, a single provider would lock in a mall to an agreement that would restrict all advertising (direct and programmatic) and choose what software was deployed to manage it. In the past, this was an acceptable model because the provider was paying for the hardware, which required no capital from a center owner yet delivered a revenue share on the advertising.

What’s changed? Dozens of these advertising providers have collapsed under the weight of those capital commitments and rent obligations.  

Unfortunately, that trend worsened during the depths of the pandemic—leaving owners with old and sometimes inoperable hardware, dark screens, no software, and no revenue in their Centers. But in other cases, those providers are riding the wave of programmatic or a single national contract and living off the margin while leaving shopping Centers with saturated ads. Although this practice generated revenue, those Centers were underperforming the market in both revenue and quality of experience. 

Rise of Self-Owned Display Networks 

There’s an opportunity to utilize a new model today.

Dozens of Centers are turning to the TouchSource model in order to take control of their own destiny.  This new model gives the owner control over their assets, the ability to maximize programmatic revenue, and the flexibility to combine different sources of revenue into their digital network.

Some are supplementing programmatic with national providers, and others are focusing their own specialty leasing teams to grow the revenue themselves.

In all scenarios, they are seeing an opportunity for more revenue with existing assets.  

Woman in a black and white checkered top looking at TouchSource Directory Media Network advertising display network.


What’s the TouchSource Model?

First, we enable Centers to light up their old provider kiosks whenever possible.

When new kiosks or displays are needed, we provide turnkey units with the branded look and feel of the Centers. Centers control their own software and content while plugging into one of the largest programmatic ad networks in the nation. Display content is a mix of advertising, directories and wayfinding—without the need to trade off content options for the other, as is a limit with legacy business models. 

To help standardize our unique approach, we have unveiled a comprehensive suite of services designed to empower Centers leveraging our advanced software and robust programmatic advertising capabilities. This approach is aimed at maximizing revenue for our clients, while ensuring an engaging customer experience.

It starts with our core capabilities in digital signage: 

Core Capabilities

Central to our offering is our Content Management Software, which serves as the foundation—an “Operating System” for the kiosk that delivers content from diverse sources, including owner-loaded content and dynamically pulled programmatic ads. This level of versatility underscores our commitment to a tailored, responsive retail environment. 

  • Our Cloud Portal and Management system presents an easy-to-use updating portal. It ensures that content, such as marketing flyers or local sponsorships, can be remotely loaded, scheduled and updated with ease and security—facilitating real-time responsiveness to local opportunities in each center. 
  • The design and branding of digital signage are critical components of a Center’s identity. TouchSource offers customized layout design that not only embodies the Center’s branding but also delivers clear messaging and essential information, thus enhancing the overall customer journey. 
  • Understanding the pivotal role of media in digital signage, the Media Player integrated into our kiosks is optimized for delivering high-quality advertising, marketing, and digital signage content. This optimization is crucial in capturing and maintaining consumer attention. 
  • To ensure uninterrupted service and performance, System Monitoring is proactively employed. This service monitors system health, network uptime, and power outages, thereby maximizing both revenue and throughput.

Our commitment extends to comprehensive training and support. We provide unlimited training on the content management portal and systems as part of the annual subscription. That noted, our Portal is so intuitive and has built in help tools for an easy-to-use tool which requires very little training. Further, we guarantee full service and support through TouchSource, which includes a warranty for all software and the included media players. 

Black and multi-color digital kiosk display for NBA All-Star 2024 at Circle Centre Mall in Downtown Indianapolis.

NBA All-Star 2024 Welcome Message on Circle Centre Mall Kiosk

Programmatic Advertising Capabilities 

But that is only one part of the equation.

The solution outlined above delivers control over technology and programmatic advertising. In addition to that, we offer best-in-class programmatic advertising capabilities through our partnership with Screenverse Media.

The service represents the retail and urban panels from our Retail Centers to the most diverse and expansive digital screen network in the real world. This partnership delivers greater programmatic revenue while reducing the cost and complexity inherent in Centers self-managing and self-optimizing their own digital networks. This creates a lucrative partnership opportunity for Center owners as we leverage some key attributes for success: 

Key Attributes for Programmatic Advertising Success

  • Size Matters: The size of the network makes a big difference in revenue generation. Screenverse Media network has over 1900 urban panels, 18K retail panels, and 90K total digital screens generating over 4.5B impressions per month. If you are at an agency and need to get a lot of impressions in valuable demographics, this digital-out-of-home (DOOH) network is going to be one of the first places you buy. By joining this network, Center owners place their panels in this active revenue-generating system.
  • Past Success Matters: In just a few year’s time, TouchSource and Screenverse successfully partnered to build fastest growing office advertising network for years and have become a Top 3 performer in overall revenue and volume in the office venue.
  • Integrations Matter: With this partnership, we are integrating with all of the major SSP and DSPs including Vistar Media, Place Exchange, Adomni, Hivestack, Broadsign and more. In addition, the DSPs that are active omni-channel such as Yahoo!, theTradeDesk, and MediaMat. By participating, Centers enable Agencies to buy retail screens through this network increasing their access to consumers and your revenue potential.
  • Pricing and Optimization Matter: Pricing Optimization is an integral part of our service. The team at Screenverse has employed advanced algorithms to set multipliers and optimize Cost Per Mille (CPM), ensuring that our clients’ investments yield substantial returns. This proprietary technology updates pricing hourly using algorithmic-based techniques to maximize both the primary and secondary prices and the CPM floor, which has shown to positively impact the CPM across assets to which it has been deployed. By contrast, DIY network management would require your team to figure out and manage that complexity.


Experience and Resources Matter

Working with TouchSource, you’d benefit from a full team of experienced professionals who are leaders in the growth of DOOH including marketers, agency representatives, technologists, and operations experts. In combination with TouchSource’s dedicated AdTech team, there is a national team of experts within Screenvers that monitors, maintains, optimizes, and monetizes the network through every venue and every screen.

The cost to replicate this expertise in-house would be significant and time consuming. That’s why Centers around the country are turning to TouchSource for this expertise and partnership network. We are not only equipping Retail Centers with cutting-edge technology, we’re also setting a new benchmark for digital retail engagement and improved revenue generation. 

Stay tuned to TouchSource as we continue to innovate and lead in the transformation of retail Centers into modern, digital, customer-centric spaces that enable owners and operators to control and optimize your own revenue.


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