The application of LCD technology to commercial refrigeration units represents one of the most exciting areas of growth in the refrigeration sector. LCD technology addresses one of the oldest problems for retailers that utilize glass door coolers; promoting product visibility. With traditional glass door coolers, retailers have struggled to get their products into the hands of their customers. The barrier of the door between customers and products has proven to be a difficult obstacle to overcome. While glass door coolers provide better product visibility than traditional commercial coolers that lacked a viewing window, the barrier of glass between the product and the customer nonetheless limits product visibility. LCD technology is being applied to this problem to help retailers overcome this barrier, resulting in greater product visibility and enhanced sales.

Why LCD for Commercial Refrigeration?

LCD stands for “liquid crystal display,” a type of display medium that uses a very thin sheet of crystals in a liquid form to transmit light to the viewer.  The advantages of LCD screens over older technology such as CRT (cathode ray tube) displays are numerous.  LCD screens are inherently much thinner than CRT and other types of displays, allowing for innovative applications.  Additionally, they are more efficient, requiring less power draw and running much cooler.  While running more efficiently, LCD screens also offer the ability to provide a picture that is much clearer and crisp.

Nearly everyone has used an LCD screen in their everyday lives.  Most modern computer monitors utilize LCD technology.  Modern smart phones also use LCD technology, as the small form factor requires a non-bulky and energy efficient solution.  However, it wasn’t until recently that LCD technology was applied to commercial refrigeration units.  As the technology has advanced since it was first introduced, LCD displays have increasingly been applied to fields beyond the computing and phone sectors.

When researchers were exploring ways to minimize the barrier between products and customers that is inherent in glass door coolers, the advantages of LCD technology for this application quickly became apparent.  By integrating LCD technology into the actual glass of the glass door cooler, engineers realized that the door of the cooler could be turned into a vibrant display that brought attention to the products within.  This type of display, known as a transparent LCD display, reduces the distance between customers and the products they desire, while not compromising the structural integrity of the glass door cooler.  Because LCD displays run cooler and are more energy efficient, the strain placed on the refrigeration unit was also minimized, making a transparent LCD screen the ideal medium for maximizing product visibility in glass door coolers.

Transparent LCD’s and Consumer Interaction

The primary advantage of utilizing a transparent LCD screen in glass door coolers is increased product visibility.  A transparent LCD screen on a glass door cooler will ensure that attention is drawn to the products within, which is an enormous advantage for retailers.  This technology will also aid consumers in their shopping, enabling them to quickly assess which products are in a cooler and quickly find the product they desire.  By embedding the LCD screen into the glass of the cooler itself, retailers are able to increase product visibility and enhance their customer’s shopping experience while not adding any bulk or substantial upkeep costs to their operations.

A secondary advantage of utilizing an embedded LCD screen in glass door coolers is that it gives retailers the flexibility to modify or change their displays quickly and easily.  Rather than having to remove logos or purchase a new brand-specific glass door cooler, retailers can quickly change their display to match the products that are contained within the cooler.  Additionally, retailers will have the ability to sell their display space to marketers, creating new revenue streams.  Finally, transparent LCD screens will allow retailers to use this technology to drive innovative marketing efforts.  One example of this would be using the screen to provide a complementary product pairing when a consumer grabs a product.  For example, when a consumer makes a beverage selection, the screen display could display a suggested snack or more substantial meal option located in a different area in the store.  By recognizing the flexibility and power in LCD technology applications for glass door coolers, retailers will be able to gain enhanced interaction with consumers, providing a faster and more pleasurable shopping experience.