A ll it took was a routine stop at a traffic light for entrepreneur Nathan Elliott’s “lightbulb moment” to strike. Captivated by a sea of dark windows lining the streets of his native Saskatchewan, he was hit with a bright idea.
As CEO and Co-Founder of FrontRunner Technologies, Nathan Elliott has developed a first-of-its-kind digital media delivery platform for window fronts, designed to “light up the night” by illuminating dark storefront spaces created by increased retail vacancy. With reports of close to 6,000 store closings so far in 2019 —already more than last year alone— retailers are leaving a trail of dark, empty spaces behind as they shift their focus to the e-commerce market.
“I envisioned a street that was alive with light from the blank canvasses of empty storefronts,” says Elliott. “FrontRunner re-connects and illuminates communities by engaging brands, consumers and spaces together in an exciting way. We create windows of opportunity by transforming these spaces with dynamic and interactive art, film, news, sports, music and advertisements.”
Partnering with world-class commercial real estate companies across North America, FrontRunner offers a coveted street-level presence for brands and content with its WindowFront Matrix. Top-tier brands such as Nike, adidas, Proximo Spirits, Scotia Bank, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz are some of the major players that have taken a run into the future of advertising with FrontRunner.
“FrontRunner was built in response to a drastically changing retail landscape,” says Elliott. “Consumers today expect everything to be ‘luxury,’ and the retail experience itself is more important than ever—people need to be engaged and excited to have their attention drawn away from e-commerce. FrontRunner windows offer a new way for brands to connect with their target audiences. Plus, we’re working on making these platforms interactive for consumers to take ‘window shopping’ to a whole new level.”
A winning opportunity for all involved, FrontRunner’s WindowFront Matrix provides a source of revenue for building owners while inspiring potential new retail tenants—the vibrant displays increase engagement and social capital within the area, helping landlords lease their empty spaces faster. The programmatic and analytic capabilities of these windows only add more to their appeal, as they allow brands and advertisers to target specific audiences at specific times of day, while tracking anonymous engagements with their content in real time.
In just two years, FrontRunner has taken over windows in prominent downtown cores and shopping centres, including Toronto’s own Yonge & Dundas Square, Yorkville Village and Spadina Avenue, as well as in storefronts along Fifth Avenue and several prominent NYC boroughs. You can expect to see a new age window near you through the company’s aggressive growth strategy across the continent.
“At the rate the industry is changing, it will soon be the norm for retailers to use dynamic technology in their window fronts to display everything from catalogues and promotions, to points of purchase and more. When paired with mobile devices these installations take on even more life. The way we consume media is changing exponentially, and we’re exploring these new frontiers of content delivery with FrontRunner,” says Elliott. “Public space will never be the same, but with us, it will certainly be a whole lot brighter.”