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3 reasons retailers must digitize their stores to maximize retail media growth

As retail media booms, retailers in North America have only just started leveraging their estates to offer brands the opportunity to reach shoppers across their path to purchase. But with more than 80% of transactions taking place in-store, retailers in the US and Canada are now looking to modernize their store fleets and enable greater in-store retail media that reaches shoppers right at the point of purchase.


Retail media is all about finding the right mix that meets the right shopper at the right time. When thinking of in-store activations, retailers must enable a mix of digital and static opportunities to drive growth for CPGs and drive opportunities to hit key KPIs.
Ella Rice is a Client Manager at Threefold.

Let’s take a step back. What is retail media?

For retailers, retail media unlocks lucrative additional revenue by leveraging its entire media estate. For brands, retail media grows sales and builds loyalty among shoppers. Retail media relates to any promotional marketing placed by brands at or near the point of sale, whether that is in a physical store environment, on a retailer’s e-commerce platform (website and mobile app) or via a third-party platform, including Connected TV (CTV) and social media.


In a traditional sense, in-store retail media has been printed and static advertising that’s typically manually placed by store employees – think aisle violators that call out an innovative cereal flavor or an aisle end-cap display that promotes a new variety of laundry detergent.


But as new capabilities have developed, and retailers look to future-proof their Retail Media Network offering, we have seen a rise in digitized versions of existing analog touchpoints, enabling more opportunities for brand advertisers, reducing friction for retailers and creating more personalized experiences for the consumer. Our retailer partners have already begun to see the true power of digitizing the store.


3 reasons why retailers must digitize their stores to compete:


  1. It enables dynamic/programmatic creative and pricing. Digital in-store media can be updated during a campaign to reflect a myriad of evolving factors, including price changes, current events or messaging related to real-time variables, like weather conditions. Digital retail media amplifies a brand’s message while ensuring that the content is most relevant for shoppers. As we move toward the future, digital in-store retail media will increasingly offer the chance to target individual shoppers with personalized messages tailored to their needs, supported by retailers’ robust first-party data and loyalty programs. Traditional static media doesn’t permit this type of flexibility, and tests have shown that brands and RMN campaigns that are more agile and able to adapt to changes in the environment can drive performance. This is already happening online. A recent Threefold-powered campaign saw increased performance when the weather warmed and copy and creative assets were updated to react to the shifting temperatures. Increased digitization of the store enables similar possibilities even closer to shoppers’ point of purchase.

  2. Digital in-store touchpoints streamline the activation process for retailers and brand advertisers, enabling precise campaign activation at the right stores at the right times. Due to the reliance on in-store staff set up in-store retail media, compliance – the actual fulfillment of in-store media – can vary significantly. Many CPG brands invest in field sales teams to deploy in-store media on their behalf to ensure higher-cost media is located in the correct stores and locations. Not all CPGs can justify this investment, and many instead rely on the retailer’s staff to correctly place in-store media. As competition in the retail media space continues to increase, this will become unacceptable to CPG brands. While there are numerous ways Threefold-powered RMNs already ensure that compliance meets brand expectations, digital media in-store largely eradicates the need for brands and their RMNs to rely on a retailer’s staff. As digital screens and other digitized tactics, like in-store audio, can be managed centrally, there is an increased likelihood that an RMN will be able to activate media exactly where and when a CPG has paid for it, even if a retailer is activating the campaign in multiple store locations across states.

  3. In-store digital media creates opportunities to engage key audiences otherwise not reachable through other more traditional advertising channels, such as linear TV. CTV, social and paid search are expected to supercharge digital growth in 2024, however, this doesn’t capture shoppers in-store at key moments. In-store digital media gives retailers and brands the opportunity to display complex and detailed brand messages at the true point of purchase, as a shopper browses a store and is primed to try a new brand or make an impulse buy. Data from Plan-Apps informs us that in-store campaigns that leverage digital touchpoints offer the potential for a stronger sales uplift, even though there’s often a higher associated activation cost. Digital in-store media can also be activated semi-permanently, and Plan-Apps data suggest such activations deliver a significantly higher brand uplift over time, creating a longer-term impact on sales and driving the loyalty that CPGs crave.



While retail media is not solely a digital enterprise, Retail Media Networks will increasingly look to employ digital solutions that offer brands the best return on their investment and improve the shopper experience. At Threefold, retail media is all about finding the right mix that meets the right shopper at the right time. When thinking of in-store activations, retailers must enable a mix of digital and static opportunities to drive growth for CPGs and drive opportunities to hit key KPIs, such as sales lift and return on investment.


Want to learn more about how Threefold can add digital in-store to your retail media strategy? Let’s chat at ella.rice@threefold.team.


About Ella Rice

Ella Rice is a client manager in the Threefold North America team, where she supports CPGs in planning, building and measuring retailer campaigns. Prior to her role at Threefold, Ella spent three years on the Plan-Apps team within SMG, supporting CPGs with insights on campaign performance and building consultancies that leveraged Plan-Apps data. Ella previously worked as an account manager for a digital marketing agency. Want to chat about how Threefold can supercharge your retail media strategy? You can reach her at ella.rice@threefold.team.


About Threefold

Founded in 2008, Threefold is the world's leading Retail Media Network (RMN) specialist, headquartered in both New York and London. As part of the SMG agency network, which employs over 250 retail media experts, Threefold's primary mission is to unlock incremental CPG budgets, curate media campaigns that supercharge sales and elevate its retail partners into top-tier omnichannel media owners, spanning in-store, off-site and online.


Threefold's services include consultancy, evaluation, and a white-label in-house solution that has seen the agency build, run and operate over 10 Retail Media Networks to date. In the UK, Threefold runs and operates Walgreens' Boots Media Group and Morrisons Media Group, and additional live partners include major retailers like Asda, The Co-op and The Very Group.

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