If you just glance at the digital marketing trades you’ve likely already heard that retailers have evolved from simply selling products online and in-store to offering full service digital advertising programs both on their site and off. These new media offerings have become even more relevant to advertisers with the rapid acceleration of digital shopping brought on by COVID19. Today, we want to introduce the People of Programmatic audience to this emerging trend in digital marketing and how it’s impacting programmatic media and the entire commerce experience.
What's different about retail media?
Retail media platforms have a unique ability to help advertisers reach shoppers when they’re in the act of shopping, and to use their first-party data within the platform to tie it back to sales.
"(Retail Media) is really an opportunity to build a relationship with the shopper, to get closer to them … where they’re in the shopper mindset, with their credit card in hand”
- David Haase
Sean Cheyney adds that contained retail media platforms can give advertisers a level of trust and synchronicity that may not be available through other channels. One significant factor is the retailer’s access to first-party data, which can have benefits over publicly available data.
“A lot of that (public) data is modeled, and advertisers don’t have control over the age of the data,” says Cheyney. Executing a campaign through a retailer platform allows you to “tie it back with closed loop reporting … getting the proof that your campaign is working.”
“We’re believers that the best indicator of future purchase is also past purchase."
- David Haase
Should retailers share their data or keep it exclusive?
Recent announcements from organizations like Walmart and The Trade Desk describe partnerships where retailers are enabling agencies to purchase their first-party data in some circumstances. Is this a trend, where retailers want to have tightly coupled audience targeting on site, but also facilitate agency buying teams with first-party data and measurement?
“It becomes a matter of control and access,” says Sean Cheyney. “If you’re putting your data out there to be used, there still needs to be control over how that’s being used, otherwise you run the risk of devaluing your direct-to-brand retail media program.”
“There is a way to do both, you just have to make sure from a retail media perspective, you’re offering a lot more than what somebody can just simply access through the open web,” Cheyney says.
How should first party measurement be done?
Tim points out that there is a lot of variety in how retailers score their programs. Attribution windows vary widely, from 7 to 14 to 21 days, with some retailers using forensic models as well as other methods. With no industry standard to point to, how do advertisers ensure that the measurements they’re getting are indeed showing real value?
“The big key here is the level of transparency,” says Sean Cheyney. He points out that plenty of methods and metrics are valid as long as advertisers have visibility into how the measurements are calculated.
"Brand halos are great as long as its transparent as far as what’s being put into those reports."
- Sean Cheyney
How did the the Covid-19 crisis impact shopper and retailer behaviors?
Tim notes the dramatic rise of digital commerce during the pandemic, how quickly consumers adapted their shopping behaviors to the new circumstances, and how brands pivoted to accommodate the shift.
“Seventy-five percent of shoppers are now omni-platform shoppers, moving between buying online and shipping to their house, buying online and picking up in store, and going to a traditional retailer to shop,” Bagwell says. “How is retail going to change after vaccines have full distribution? Do you think there’s going to be some substantive changes to how people shop?”
“The tipping point was forced with COVID, and now you have people who are in the habit. The length of COVID created more buyer habits, as opposed to fleeting buyer behaviors.”
- Sean Cheyney
“Consumer behavior has changed, and I believe it’s more permanent than we know."
- David Haase
“E-commerce now represents $900 billion – but the true number here is that it only represents 14.4% of total commerce. it’s still in its infancy,” said Haase, referring to this e-marketer report.
How are retailers relating to last-mile delivery services?
Last-mile delivery services like Instacart and Drizly gained incredible momentum with shoppers during the COVID-19 crisis, in a shift that might stick around well into the future. How have retailers been navigating this? Are they extending their integration into those services, or are they trying to create their own independent options? Which path benefits the retailer more? Is it more beneficial for them to access the millions of shoppers who use Instacart or to own the entire e-commerce experience with their customer?
David Haase suggests that retailers will increasingly try to own that last mile.
“I believe that is very important to the retailer. They know the power of omnichannel, they know the power of the last mile, and the importance of owning the relationship all the way to the door with the customer.”
- David Haase
“I think it’s going to be important for retailers to also own their data and take control of that journey for the shopper,” he adds. “They want to make sure that from purchase to delivery, they see it through.”