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3 takeaways from the first-ever Retail Media Summit Canada

The Threefold team is wrapping up a successful week in Toronto, where we’ve had numerous exciting conversations about the future of retail media in Canada. Threefold Managing Director Sean Crawford took the stage on February 6 to share our 15 years of insights with the audience at the inaugural Retail Media Summit Canada.

Managing Director Sean Crawford speaks on a panel during Retail Media Summit Canada.
Managing Director Sean Crawford speaks on a panel during Retail Media Summit Canada.

Spending on retail media in Canada is projected to surpass C$3 billion in 2024, nearly double the spend from just a few years ago, according to data from Insider Intelligence. Retail media will account for 1 in 5 digital advertising dollars spent in Canada this year. By 2027, spend is expected to surpass C$5 billion. Our experience tells us that will only increase, as more Canadian retailers launch Retail Media Networks that offer brands unparalleled opportunities to reach consumers using rich data.

Threefold's Top 3

1. Measurement is key – but don’t get lost in the data.

As the number of RMNs surges globally, only those networks that show value to brands will win. This is true whether we’re speaking about networks in the UK, in the US or in Canada. The best way to show value to brands is through clean, clear and concise metrics that enumerate the true results of their retail media dollars. Conversations about measurement should begin before a campaign takes place a brand's goals and expectations must be properly communicated and agreed on prior to a campaign launch.

However, the metrics provided should show true value and be honest. When a campaign hasn’t performed as intended, the metrics should show that, just as they should when a campaign has outperformed expectations. When a retail media campaign hasn’t met expectations, we can leverage that data to make better-informed decisions to alter a campaign in real-time or try a different strategy in the future. Threefold-run RMNs achieve this through the power of our Plan-Apps technology, which enables objective-led planning and offers brands the chance to see the true impact of campaigns during and after a campaign.

There’s also the issue of data fatigue. In our quest to provide data and insights to brands, we must ensure we’re providing the relevant data points that tell the complete story. Using the proper metrics tailored to the brands’ goals and expectations ensures both retailer and brand experience growth. 

2. The in-store opportunity enables connections that consumers crave.

While e-commerce experienced massive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic and is projected to continue to grow as a shopping channel, the vast majority of consumers’ purchases remain in store. At Canadian retailer Loblaw, 90% of all transactions occur in-store, according to data shared on stage. That’s staggering, and a clear example of why retail media is not solely a digital enterprise.

That’s true in the UK, in the US and in Canada. Retailers’ in-store assets offer brands the unique opportunity to connect with consumers through personalized campaigns in the place where they make the majority of their purchases. But that doesn’t mean we should only focus on the store to reach shoppers. We know that the path to purchase is no longer linear. At Loblaw, 53% of its in-store shoppers visited a digital channel before purchasing. Successful RMNs evaluate that shopper journey and activate the best touchpoints for each individual campaign, whether the goal is to reach a shopper through a top-of-the-funnel awareness campaign or bottom of the funnel at the cash register.

3. Always place shoppers at the heart.

There are three players in a retail media campaign: the retailer, the brand and the consumer. At the end of the day, campaigns that focus on making the shopping experience better for the consumer will drive sales and returns for retailers and brands. 

Data, for example, tells us that consumers now more than ever are researching nearly everything they purchase – even the mundane, like shampoo, according to John Fanous, head of omnichannel retail at Google and YouTube in Canada. True omnichannel retail media can reach shoppers while they’re in that research phase, help educate them and push them toward a purchasing decision. 

Chris Reigel, CEO of Stratacache, said it best. Think of the consumer as the North Star – don’t set out thinking only about how much revenue you as a retailer or brand stand to earn using retail media. Instead, look toward the shopper and how you can leverage retail media to make their experience better. The revenue will follow.

We’re excited to have just wrapped the first Retail Media Summit event this year. We look forward to joining the industry in June in Chicago for the next Retail Media Summit. Plus, we just announced that our parent company, SMG, will again host Retail Media Summit UK this year alongside our friends at the Path to Purchase Institute. More details to share soon! 

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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