Why Retail Media is Essential for Brands in 2021

More people are shopping online than ever before and this shift in consumer behaviour is changing the way brands promote their products. This year, for the first time ever, digital advertising will account for more than half of global ad spend.

While brands have become accustomed to targeting audiences as they browse social media or research products on Google, now is the time to take advantage of retail media and connect with consumers as they shop.

What is retail media?

The ads that are featured on a retail website, app or other online platform is known as retail media. Retail media allows brands to advertise their products near the point of sale, which makes it easier for consumers to convert.

Your ad could appear when someone types a relevant search term into Amazon or as shoppers browse a particular product category on their favourite supermarket site. This is the eCommerce equivalent of in-store advertising and can help brands capture audiences at the most influential point in the digital customer journey.

Retail media opens up digital spaces that were previously off-limit to brands. Amazon led the way by introducing sponsored ads. Now, other online retailers are following in their footsteps.

What are the advantages of retail media for brands?

Retail media is having far-reaching consequences for all eCommerce stakeholders.

For online retailers, it provides a new revenue stream which is huge when you consider that CPG profit margins have been decreasing. For the end consumer, it means lower and more consistent prices because stores that operate a retail media network will avoid sudden price hikes that could negatively impact traffic and ad revenue.

Retail media is also changing the way shoppers and brands interact. While it will take some time for brands to get used to, it is worth the investment because of all the unique advantages retail media offers. These include:

1. In-depth data

Because sales take place on their platforms, each retail media network can collect first-party data on buyer behaviour. This is more reliable than the data coming through third-party cookies. And, with internet browsers moving to phase out the use of third-party cookies, it’s future proof too.

The data collected varies a lot but, if the retail media network you choose has a loyalty programme, it may have access to in-depth and insightful information about shoppers that will allow you to target and customise your ads for maximum impact.

2. Next level personalisation

As mentioned, retail media allows you to customise your message to increase sales, improve ROI and provide a seamless customer experience. But you can go even further by personalising your offers to appeal to different audience segments.

As an example of the high-quality targeting available, let’s look at US supermarket Kroger. Loyalty cards are used with 96% of transactions on its retailer media network, brands can target shoppers based on everything from household size to personal preferences, like favourite flavours. Many networks even enable brands to send their customers highly relevant coupons and email promotions.

This level of personalisation makes it easy for brands to attract new customers and introduce current users to new products.

3. Perfectly timed ads

Retail media allows you to get your message to consumers who are in shopping mode. They are on a retail website to research or buy a product, so there’s no better time to promote your brand. Conversions are just one click away.

When executed effectively, retail media ads are distinctive and prominently placed, so they’re a great way to win space on the digital shelf.

4. Clear conversion tracking

Because ad impressions and sales take place on the same platform, you can accurately track the impact of your ads.

This provides clear ROI insights and allows you to invest in the strategies that boost your bottom line the most. With the likes of Facebook and Google, there isn’t the same level of accountability because the consumer’s journey can’t always be tracked to the point of sale.

What are the top retail media networks in 2021?

The biggest retailers and marketplaces around the world are turning to retail media to increase their profits. Here are some of the most popular and well-established players on the international stage:

1. Amazon

For many consumers around the globe, Amazon is their go-to shopping platform. With so many product categories available, most people can find what they need. As a retail media network, this also means it can accommodate ads from brands across every niche.

Amazon Advertising offers the potential to maximise marketplace sales and beat out competitors. Similar to Google Ads, Amazon uses a self-service platform that allows brands to bid on keywords and then pay every time an ad is clicked.

Amazon offers three main ad types:

●      Sponsored ads appear alongside organic results when shoppers conduct a search.

●      Sponsored brand ads will display your brand’s logo along with a selection of products.

●      Sponsored display ads showcase your brand and target shoppers based on behaviour and demographics, rather than keywords.

2. eBay

eBay is another marketplace where brands across all industries can sell their wares. It’s promoted listings look just like regular listings with two differences: they’re labelled as ‘Sponsored’ and they appear at the top of search results. They can pop up on product pages as ‘suggested’ or ‘related’ items too.

For brands that want to build awareness, eBay also offers display ads on its homepage and category pages.

3. Criteo

Criteo is a retail media network that allows brands to advertise their products across a wide range of websites through one convenient, central platform.

Right now, brands can use Criteo to buy ads across the likes of Costco, Target, Best Buy, CVS, Walgreens, Staples, Walmart, Kohl’s, Meijer and Macy’s. So whatever vertical your brand is in, you should be able to find a selection of ad placements to suit your needs.

Criteo recently launched its retail media offering in Europe too, so some more major retailers are likely to come on-stream soon.

4. Walmart

Walmart, which sells groceries, electronics, beauty products, furniture, hardware and clothing, also has its own ad centre.

Here, brands can get their hands on sponsored product listings which will appear in search results or the Walmart Buy Box. They can also run attention-grabbing display ads in high traffic areas across Walmart’s website and app. Expandable, rich media and in-banner video options are all available.

Brands can target Walmart consumers in the US and Canada. But they can also reach the UK market through its Asda retail media network. Asda also facilitates ad placements and review requests in its customer emails.

5. Wayfair

Wayfair sells furniture and homewares to consumers across the US, the UK, Germany and Canada. Brands that sell products through its marketplace can create sponsored product listings, display ads, featured videos, native advertising placements or custom promotions.

Its in-house advertising platform also uses AI to customise your ad content for each customer. This aims to maximise conversions for your brand.

Other retail media network options

There are tons of other networks to choose from depending on your location and the kind of products you sell.

In the US, Home Depot, Kroger and Instacart also run their own networks. In Italy, there’s ePRICE which sells electronics and then there’s home improvement site ManoMano in France and a handful of other European countries.

So, wherever your products are sold, be sure to check each channel for retail media opportunities.

How can ChannelSight help?

Retail media has a lot to offer but, as more and more brands take advantage of these strategically placed ads, it can create a more competitive marketplace environment for your products.

Adding Where to Buy’ technology to your website will ease the path to purchase for your customers. With the technology, present all the available online retailers that stock the product.

This gives the consumer multiple choice of retailers from which they can purchase their product while sending visitors directly to your product page on their favourite retail sites. This will reduce the number of competitor sponsored ads they are exposed to and can help secure better conversion for your business. Talk to one of our eCommerce experts today to learn more.

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