Although Hy-Vee has offered different components of retail media for some years, it has “been building in earnest” and officially launched Hy-Vee RedMedia, its full-scale retail media network early this fall, according to Jessica Enos, SVP of Retail Media for Hy-Vee, Inc.
Hy-Vee is prioritizing this growth area through a strategic partnership with Samsung that allows the supermarket chain to bring dynamic ads and content into stores, as well as through a robust network of Samsung Connected TVs and Direct Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising channels.
“Hy-Vee, as an organization, has been innovative in the market and has even won awards over the past few years for our focus on innovation,” Enos said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We’ll continue to do that, but when it comes to ourselves as a retail media network, we have unique assets today that stand apart.” Enos added that strategic partners like Samsung will be key in bringing these unique offerings to market moving forward.
Capitalizing on a Powerful Store Network
Hy-Vee has more than 500 “business units” — which is what the retailer calls its stores — that span traditional grocery, convenience, dollar store, wine and spirits, and even health and wellness categories.
“When you think about our footprint, we’re large enough to matter to our brand partners, but small enough to execute test-and-learns, and be very agile and quick to market,” said Enos. “And that’s something that we see as a key differentiator and something that our brand partners really are looking for.”
As part of its expanded partnership with Samsung, RedMedia has deployed the Samsung VXT Content Management System (CMS) to bring content and media from brand partners to more than 10,000 Samsung commercial displays. The cloud-native CMS integrates content management and remote device management, so the retailer can control and secure its Samsung display network in real time. Support for 24/7 content scheduling allows Hy-Vee to ensure that content is effectively being pushed to displays and that those displays don’t overheat.
Displays are installed in key areas of the Hy-Vee store, including in aisles, deli, meat and seafood counters, wine and spirit departments and food courts across all Hy-Vee grocery locations, as well as Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh stores. Historically, these screens were considered precious real estate reserved for the retailer’s own marketing efforts.
However, Hy-Vee is now thinking strategically in order to offer these screens to brand partners and across more store formats. The retailer identified key points within the in-store customer journey to roll out more screens for advertisers, to maximize reach regardless of consumer journeys, patterns and purposes.
“The placement of these displays is very thoughtful,” said Parrish Chapman, Senior Director, Enterprise Retail Sales Key Accounts, Samsung Electronics America in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “It’s not just one screen in the POS area so [that] Hy-Vee can say they have a retail media network. They’re really concerned about the customer journey, how it impacts the experience where they’re meeting that customer in the store, and then how they can extract that brand value at the time of decision. They’re doing so great that it makes our job a lot easier from the tech and the media side.”
Optimizing Brand Storytelling
The in-store digital screens and advertising capabilities were integrated into Hy-Vee’s retail media offerings as a direct response to partners’ desire for more ways to connect with consumers closer to the point of purchase, according to Enos. Hy-Vee can push a mix of dynamic digital content, including live cooking demos, promotions, recipes, product pairings and company news, to shoppers quickly and efficiently.
“We have constant conversations where we talk about [brands’] planning and how they want to reach customers via their tentpole moments, and helping them build a full-scale media plan,” Enos said. “We know that millions of customers are still coming through our brick-and-mortar format — and some, frankly, aren’t as reachable digitally. This is another way for us to reach those customers.”
The ability to update content playlists at scale enables Hy-Vee and its advertising partners to tell more engaging and memorable brand stories.
“What brands typically don’t do very well, but what Hy-Vee is doing great, is understanding the placement, the playlist and what they’re trying to achieve with the brand or customers in that section of the store,” Chapman said. “They’re really unlocking this digital inventory for that storytelling.”
Brand partners have been asking Hy-Vee to do test-and-learn initiatives to determine what content resonates through these digital screens, especially as detailed insights into campaign performance have become an expectation, according to Enos.
Together, Hy-Vee and Samsung are using partner feedback, as well as campaign performance, to continuously improve retail media offerings and provide further guidance on how they can best optimize their campaign media.
“What we love about Hy-Vee is that they’re innovative, so what they’re doing this quarter will change in the future,” Chapman noted. “We’ll have a different set of priorities and innovation in the coming quarters, so we view technology as living and breathing. We have to make sure that it’s easy to use but that we can expand and grow it as our retailers’ needs change.”
Creating Immersive Experiences, from Sofa to Store
To drive traffic to the stores (where consumers can be influenced by in-store content), Hy-Vee is leveraging Samsung’s hardware and digital advertising channels, which aim to engage consumers “from the sofa to the store” in a controlled and consistent way.
Samsung Ads has seen “a ton of success” in CTV and mobile channels and “the big area of opportunity for brand partners is to reach consumers not just while they’re in their home, but across the path to purchase and point of purchase,” noted Chris Allison, the GM of DOOH for Samsung Ads in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.
Brands that advertise via RedMedia will be able to tap into both digital and off-site advertising on brand-safe sites. They can personalize ad messaging and delivery based on various data points, including purchasing behaviors, brand preferences and lifestyle preferences.
Allison’s team is working with Hy-Vee on providing access to a variety of sources of demand via programmatic and direct channels. “Our ad platform is really enabling Hy-Vee to access demand and give marketers the flexibility to activate their media in the way that they choose to activate,” said Allison. “The Samsung Ads tech stack is really helping open those new channels to create that opportunity to enhance the customer experience.”
RedMedia is providing advertisers with the ability to “maximize every penny” by having complete control over ad channel, placement, customer journey and content, so they can “honor their core brand values and safely protect the brand,” Chapman added. “We offer it on the CTV side and then in stores, so you can go from sofa to store. Hy-Vee is protecting that brand and providing that control.”
Keeping Pace with Demands for Transparency, Standardization
As brands continue to shift their marketing investments to channels that are powered by first-party data and are closer to the point of purchase, they are seeking retail media network partners that not only provide these opportunities but also the transparency needed to be successful.
“I think the data shows that around 10 new retail media networks pop up every day, so it’s more difficult for brands to manage all these investments and relationships across different retailers and all the different technologies powering these ecosystems,” Enos said. “It can all be difficult to manage, plus we’re hearing a lot now about transparency and measurement. We see brands looking for us, as retailers, to be more open, adopt standardization tactics and really help evaluate the returns for them across retailers.”
RedMedia and Samsung offer advanced measurement, targeting and programmatic transactional technology to help suppliers and brands reach specific customers across channels and get detailed insights into campaign performance.
“We’re excited about Samsung’s expertise as we build out more granular infrastructure from a reporting perspective,” Enos said. “We’ve worked very hard over the last year to understand the performance of all our assets, so we’re bringing that forth with our partnership. We are looking at our supporters to align on consistent metrics and standardization and measurement.”