With heady revenue predictions for retail media north of $100 billion and with equally impressive growth rates, it’s not surprising to see a surge of retailers opening advertising shops in attempts to capture share.
But we’re still in the early days of retail media, with the large and capable players (Walmart, Amazon, Kroger and Instacart) scooping up the lion’s share of brands’ investments. How does a retailer set forth a strategy to get its piece of the fast-growing retail media pie?
To answer that question, let’s look at retail media from a brand’s point of view. In the United States, less so in Europe, retailers are creating retail media networks with the help of multiple partners that provide technology, such as sponsored search platforms or services that increase brand engagement (or both). A retailer may even have different partners for mobile experiences and desktop experiences. Now multiply those options by the number of retailers offering advertising and you get a staggering amount of complexity a media buyer must tackle.
Here are six relationship- and revenue-building strategies for retailers to consider:
Stand out and capture share by keeping it simple.
Consolidate third-party providers whenever possible. Make your retail media easy to buy by being a one-stop-shop for mobile, desktop, on-site display and sponsored products. If you’re already there, simplify further by combining physical and digital advertising offerings into integrated omnichannel programs. Brands will better manage their messaging and campaigns and your shoppers will thank you for a unified experience wherever they shop with you.
Create a media center and advertiser portal to house marketing materials, your rate card, media specifications, media calendar and program offerings — and provide a link to it on your website so that brands can easily find information about your retail media.
Move away from siloed PDFs and consolidate information in an easy-to-use advertiser portal that unifies your retail media platforms, regardless of who your partners are, by including physical and digital store options in one place.
Drive repeat purchase.
You can’t grow your revenue if your monetization bucket has leaks. Brands need return on ad spend (ROAS) reporting linked to sales data to justify their investment. A sound operating and technical plan is needed to centralize, organize and transparently present advertisers’ return-on-investment data so that they can accurately measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. Already have this in place? Focus on increasing the speed of data and insights and include more channels in consolidated reports. Again, make it easy for brands to buy your media.
Use your performance data to improve your ad placements.
Retailers that focus on making their advertising inventory effective at driving sales create a great shopper experience and a compelling reason (market share gain) for their suppliers to invest.
Segment brands by their familiarity with retail media, sales rank, advertising budget and potential to grow sales.
Next, develop strategies tailored to each brand segment to maximize revenue and the buying experience. For example, an emerging brand with a limited budget should be offered sponsored search opportunities, which for most advertisers is a well-known tactic with strong ROAS. As the brand’s spending and acumen mature, methodically expand into the next layers of advertising, such as on-site display, in-store advertising and email. Upper funnel media, such as influencer marketing and programmatic marketing, would be used by savvier advertisers. This segmentation should be built into your CRM to allow for automation and personalized communications to supplier partners.
Provide your advertisers with outstanding support.
Leverage your account management teams to provide white-glove account management when the spend or opportunity justifies the expense. Retailers with a large supplier base should consider what’s next: Automating account management with a certification and education center that provides personalized instruction and recommendations based on your advertiser segmentation and content rules. You can certify your suppliers’ acumen through quizzes and record their progress in your CRM.
Retail media is growing fast, and so is the complexity for brands. Retailers must balance their needs with those of brands and shoppers — done right, all boats rise with the tide.
Gregory Stevens is the General Manager of GIG Retail USA. GIG Retail, part of Advantage Solutions, provides strategy and execution across all retail media, including digital media, in-store product demos and signage, and curbside signage. He previously served as president of MyWebGrocer, a provider of ecommerce and retail media solutions for retailers and brands.