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Holy Hologram!

C-store retailers to use new 3-D technology in stores

LOS ANGELES — While it’s not quite Star Wars, Circle K stores may soon have holographic technology similar to the kind that allowed Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi to see and hear Princess Lea’s call for help. Holographic, 3-D technology, described as something customers will “want to reach out and touch,” will soon be on aisles at West Coast Circle K stores, according to the provider of the technology.

Three Circle K stores in Los Angeles are set to go online next month, with a rollout schedule to start in April at 160 more stores, according to Curt Thornton, chairman and CEO for Provision Holding Inc. Its subsidiary, Provision Interactive Technologies Inc., announced its plans for 2012 this week, which includes retailers such as Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard (Circle K) and Camp Hill, Pa.-based drug store chain Rite Aid.

Officials with the West Coast convenience store chain could not be reached by press time.

Where older holographic kiosks showed images behind a glass, the newer technology uses a patented system to project moving images into the space above.

Provision will provide the 3-D hardware platform to retailers at no cost, with its financial partners covering the expense. Through other partnerships, Provision will sell advertisements, with the revenue being split between stakeholders.

“Our agreement with Circle K allows us to install our patented 3-D holographic displays in up to 480 convenience stores in the western region of the U.S., reaching approximately 15 million people per month,” Thornton said in a statement to investors.

In a related video (click here), Thornton said relationships exist with major oil company-branded chains including ExxonMobil, BP and Shell. Provision officials did not respond to CSP Daily News for clarification at press time.

The company had launched pilot tests in the Pacific Northwest and in a smaller chain of Los Angeles grocery c-stores but opted to start fresh with larger retailers.

“We’ve learned valuable lessons during … [recent] market trials,” Thornton said. “Specifically, national advertisers seek critical mass of a minimum of 500 locations, and their advertising dollars are first spent in the Top 10 (and then Top 20) designate market areas (DMA’s) like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.”