Why a holistic retail media programme is paramount

Kim Ludlow, Head of International Sales (EMEA & APAC) at Microsoft Retail Media (1)Retail media has taken digital advertising by storm over the past two years. Recent findings reveal it’s set to more than double in the next four years to reach $85bn by 2026 and in the UK alone, according to the IAB, retail media spend is predicted to be £7.8bn.

As marketing budgets come under more scrutiny, many fear they will miss out on the unique opportunities if they underspend. Understanding how and why to implement a retail media programme, given it is one channel set to stand above the rest, is vital and marketeers should be set to maximise its revenue impact.

For retailers to be successful in reaching their target audiences, they must build a retail media programme that can keep up with changing consumer expectations, cut out organisational complexities, create seamless business efficiencies and serve the needs of brands, while being able to stand out among the competition.

Engaging consumers across online and offline channels
Consumers are increasingly finding new ways to navigate their shopping journeys, as they no longer solely rely on just ecommerce or traditional brick-and-mortar stores for their shopping. Instead, consumers are now switching between in-store experiences and online. To keep up with this changing consumer behaviour, retailers must focus their attention on connecting with consumers wherever they are – making full use of online and offline channels.

By utilising first-party customer data through social, open web, in-store, and emerging off-site channels such as connected TV (CTV), retailers can have access to better insight and utilise all touchpoints of the customer experience. When combining online and offline retail strategies which span across the retail media programme, retailers can gain significant uptake among consumers, achieving maximum audience reach and performance.

Adding value by connecting with the right partner
As retail media accelerates in growth, there has been a proliferation of industry players focused on helping retailers monetise more of their data and inventory, resulting in complex partnerships. To build a robust, high-performing retail media programme, retailers must ensure they are connecting with the right partner or a focused set of partners who can bring retail media expertise, balance the needs of advertisers and retailers, and drive value to propel sales momentum.

Empowering retailers to make use of omnichannel solutions
Some of the top barriers which retailers face when investing in retail media is a lack of data, a lack of integration with other ad-tech and a lack of technology. According to research from the IAB Europe and Microsoft, 33% of buyers cite the fact that retail media networks are not integrated with other adtech as a barrier to investment, with 30% also citing the lack of technology and data available. Retailers require a straightforward and simple solution that makes it easier to reach audiences and achieve long-term growth, removing any complexity in targeting.

A method to overcome these barriers is implementing a holistic, omnichannel solution, allowing retailers to advertise throughout the customer journey. An omnichannel solution also uses retailer data to help in effective targeting and increased engagement, whilst delivering measurable return on investment through a holistic platform experience.

Looking into the future of retail media
While advertising to consumers at or near the point of purchase is not a new concept, having a holistic retail media programme, which encompasses a cross-channel inventory across offline and online channels is important for retailers and brands looking to achieve maximum engagement and long-term success.

Kim Ludlow is head of international sales (EMEA & APAC) at Microsoft Retail Media

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