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From Products to Publishers: The Rise of Retail Media and What It Means for You

October 20, 2023 | By

Retail media is changing faster than you can say “next-day delivery.” 

To stay competitive in a crowded industry, retailers must find new ways to stand out, attract customers, use their assets, and bring in revenue. This has resulted in a shift from traditional retail to retail media, where retailers leverage their platforms to sell advertising space to brands and advertisers. 

The gold mine fueling this shift? The realization that retailers have a precious asset to leverage: their customer data.

The Differentiation Audio Format Brings to Advertising

Today’s average consumer is inundated with visual stimuli. 

From colorful branding on products to billboards, videos, social media, and more, the people you’re trying to reach have quite possibly seen enough. Audio advertising offers a unique engagement avenue, capturing the listener's undivided attention. 

(Think about it: It's challenging to be sidetracked by a barrage of Chrome tabs when they're not even in the picture.)

Audio advertising offers consumers a respite from the visual overload. It taps into a space where the listener is present, attentive, and receptive. This format doesn't just play in the background; when crafted correctly, it has the potential to resonate, creating a deeper connection between the brand and the listener. 

In a time where distractions are a dime a dozen, audio advertising offers the rare gift of undivided attention. And in the world of advertising, that's pure gold.

The Growing Importance of Retail Media

By tapping into their rich first-party data, retailers can offer incredibly targeted advertising opportunities.

Think about it: If you’re a retailer, you’ve got databases of discrete consumer information at your fingertips: personal information, transaction history, website and app usage, wish list and loyalty program info, and more. 

This is the type of information that makes advertisers weak in the knees. In an IDC Retail Media Network Survey (June 2023, Ananda Chakravarty, VP Research, Merchandising, Marketing, Media Monetization and Analytics), more than 200 retail media network advertisers found that around 80 percent of advertisers consider point-of-purchase customer data either very important or critically important. 

It’s also the type of data that allows advertisers to craft nearly prescient ads, allowing them to solve problems consumers haven’t consciously considered. And, finally, that’s the type of proactive campaign that catches eyes and seals loyalty.

The benefits are clear. But are retailers prepared to be the new media publishers? They may have the data, but do they have the infrastructure or processes in place? 

Possible Challenges of Retailers as the New Media Publishers

As retailers take on a new role as media publishers, they face obstacles that differ from the ones they’ve traditionally tackled. 

Since they’re no longer just selling products but also curating content and creating engaging customer experiences (CX), they need to navigate complexities that come with the territory, such as audience segmentation and ad inventory management. Further, since media isn’t their sole focus (they’re still retailers, at the end of the day), they will need robust adtech systems to support their success. 

Retailers need to figure out how to leverage their unique advantage (incredible customer data) to offer targeted advertising opportunities. And they need to do this without spending all of their time on media or spending all of their money on a brand-new tech stack.  

Retail Media Workflows: How to Make Media Work for Retail 

If you’re interested in embracing this shift and being part of the future of retail media, it’s time to get down to business. How are you going to make this happen? 

1. By Democratizing and Crowdsourcing Your Content 

Traditionally, professionals or even retailers themselves owned content creation. But social media and user-generated content have sparked an evolution. Now, brands are embracing the idea that anyone can create valuable content, whether that creator be a vendor, a consumer, or another third party. 

Further, by involving a wider community of potential creators, retailers can tap into diverse perspectives and fresh ideas and a likely sense of increased authenticity—not to mention the speed and efficacy of generating content using this method.

While there is a lot of potential to explore with this method, make sure you establish an effective framework and moderate content to ensure brand alignment and overall quality. Publishing clear guidelines, creative briefs, and evaluation criteria will help. 

2. By Using Templates and Maintaining Consistency 

Using templates for your content can help you crowdsource material more efficiently and ensure consistency across your various marketing channels. It can also help you pivot more quickly to take advantage of trending topics or other timely events. Instead of generating new content from thin air, all you’ll need to do is swap out elements of your ads to tailor them to their intended context.

As a bonus, this can also help with maintaining compliance. If you ensure your templates meet your required standards and focus on consistency, you’ll rarely be noncompliant.

3. By Investing in Training, Onboarding, and Automation 

Think about the ad formats on platforms such as Facebook. Platforms have streamlined the process, making it user-friendly and efficient—even giving users an “ad-building wizard” to simplify ad creation. 

Similar simple, straightforward processes will also be helpful to you.

If you can find a low-code CX automation system, excellent! It’ll streamline your process at once. But taking the time to train your team and thoughtfully onboard the right solution up front will save you frustration and lots of time in the long run, so don’t skip these tasks. 

Our final recommendation? Don’t overlook automation. Automation can sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Deploying automation could be as simple as experimenting with AI assistants or as complex as implementing a powerful plug-and-play CX platform. Either way, automating more repetitive ad creation and rollout tasks saves even more time, reduces errors, and makes your ad system scalable. 

The Future of Retail Media Is Here. Are You Ready to Get On Board? 

The future of retail media is here, and it's time to embrace this shift and seize the opportunities it presents. Interested in offering products and prime advertising real estate? Intrigued by the treasure trove that is your customer data? 

We’re here to help. Stay ahead of the curve by checking out our plug-and-play Innervate Experience Orchestration Platform to see how we can support your team's transition from traditional retail to retail media.

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Infographic: 4 Solutions for Overcoming Your CX Challenges