Retail media networks have been one of the most talked-about subjects in the marketing circuits during 2020. Although this year won't be different, the buzz word would be taking more definite shape across geographies for retailers of all sizes. The death of third-party cookies is imminent. In its recent announcement, Google makes it clear that it won't be building any new technology to support user tracking on Chrome. Though Google Privacy Sandbox provides some comfort to marketers with solutions like FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts), the scalability, accessibility, and accuracy are still to be ascertained.
Thus, the marketing & advertising community faces ambiguity and uncertainty in the short term and is unwilling to wait it out and miss the tide of accelerated digital adoption across the world.
Retailers can provide them with the untapped but proven potential of their first-party data to navigate the blurry future. The year would see significant developments towards creating the proper infrastructure to enable the retail media ecosystem to deliver on its promises.
What makes retail media or commerce advertising even more attractive is the fact that, when done right, it can benefit all the stakeholders involved - the brands (sellers or advertisers), the retailers, and the consumers.
Brands, Sellers & Advertisers -
Clear Conversion Tracking
Retail media helps solve one of the most common and critical issues that all marketers face - attribution. Since the ad placement and product sales happen very close to each other, advertisers can tie their ad spends to total sales.
High Intent Audience
Another significant benefit that the advertisers get is access to the retailers' first-party data. This data consists of past transactions (online and offline), browsing history, product affinity, geographical and demographic data. Together these parameters create clear personas for advertisers to understand the propensity of each segment to make the purchase.
Brands can also understand the key drivers that can nudge the users down the purchasing funnel. These drivers can be but are not limited to discounts, cashback, bank-specific deals, or loyalty programs.
Perfectly timed ads
Advertisers and brands often try to nudge consumers into buying products, but they cannot be 100% sure of the stage of the user's journey. Consumers can browse products and leave without making a purchase. Now that marketers can retarget all they want, the user will come back at their discretion. And more often than not, marketers have to offer some discount to nudge the prospect, and that's also not a sure-shot way to make them purchase the product. It’s not that retargeting or remarketing doesn't give results. But wasting efforts, time, and money on it can prove detrimental to marketing budgets if the ROAS or ROI is left unchecked
With the third-party cookies being deprecated, retargeting will not be the same as before. With retail media, advertisers or brands can create cohorts of users who exhibit similar traits and deliver ads that would convert the best while they are looking for the products on the eCommerce platform. Even if the user leaves without buying, they leave more data for the retailers to crunch and put them into relevant audience buckets.
These in-the-moment ads prove to convert much better and leave behind the idea of chasing around the prospects on the internet, which can sometimes do more harm than good.
Retailers and eCommerce players -
New Revenue Stream
Retailers have a clear path to additional revenue streams through retail media. Due to the cut-throat competition and receding consumer loyalty that they are facing, most retailers and eCommerce platforms resort to heavy discounting to keep the customers with them. While they chase behind the customers, profitability becomes an elusive metric.
With retail media, retailers can finally get their way around towards becoming profitable.
Retailers can work to strengthen their adtech suit to entertain the demands of today's advertisers. Since retail media networks are getting more significant, they can find a unique place in the advertising ecosystem in the future. So retailers can be the new adtech and data companies in the times to come.
Better Vendor & Partnership Management
By providing access to their 1st party data, retailers are now in a better position to negotiate. They can now ask for better prices for their customers and thus win the discount war as well.
End-User or Consumer
As per Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. The end-users want advertisers to know them without being too intrusive. Retail media offers advertisers to run ads on the retail websites that the consumer is visiting who expect a level of customization from the website or the app. Most often, this shortens the buying cycle for the users who get the best deals right in front of them. This adds to the stickiness of the retailers' platforms, where customers know that they will easily find what they are looking for.
This one goes against the previous benefit. How can marketers personalize messages & offers for users if they cannot store all the breadcrumbs they leave on the internet?
Privacy has been one of the most critical debates in the last few years, and users have come out as the winners. Policies like CCPA and GDPR safeguard users' interests and control who uses their data and how.
Apple IOS 15 update went a step further. It gives its users the power to provide explicit consent to apps that might use their data.
While consumers want personalized offers and messages, they don't like to share too much data with brands. Moreover, consumers would prefer that brands don't note everything they do on the internet. According to a study by Pew Research Center, "72% of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies, and 81% say that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits".
With retail media, the data never leaves the system and can create an environment of assisted buying for the customers when used smartly.
We guess that retailers will still require consent to expose their userbase to advertisements on their platform in due time. Users will be less hesitant to give their nod if shown the benefits.