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Retail media evolution on display at Retail Media Summit 2024

Last week, the Threefold team traveled to Chicago for a jam-packed week of all things retail media at Retail Media Summit, an event from the Path to Purchase Institute.


From left to right: Jessie Dowd (P2PI), Sam Knights (Threefold), Ollie Shayer (Boots), Stuart Michell (WHSmith North America), Robin Neufeld (Advance Powered by Loblaw)
From left to right: Jessie Dowd (P2PI), Sam Knights (Threefold), Ollie Shayer (Boots), Stuart Michell (WHSmith North America), Robin Neufeld (Advance Powered by Loblaw)

TLDR

This year’s Retail Media Summit was a clear indicator of just how far we’ve come as an industry and where retail media is headed next. As Retail Media Networks evolve, retailers are thinking bigger beyond short-term goals. Now that we’ve made headway on getting basics, like measurement, right, retail media is moving quickly in a direction focused more on the bigger picture – getting creative, thinking strategically and making smart decisions that improve experiences for retailers, brands and consumers alike.


Retail Media Summit 2024 was bigger than ever, bringing together hundreds of retail media industry leaders from across the globe for in-depth discussions about the state of our rapidly growing and shifting industry.


We started the week on Tuesday, hosting our VIP Retail Media Dinner Series at the Drawing Room at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. We were very honored to bring together a group of representatives from best-in-class retailers for a night of networking, cocktails and delicious food. Thank you again to Microsoft and Broadsign for co-sponsoring the VIP Retail Media Dinner Series in Chicago.


Then, on Wednesday, we got right into the content, listening to opening remarks from Brian Spencer of Kroger Precision Marketing. Brian emphasized the importance of providing true measurement metrics to advertisers, which is possible through retail media. Brands need to know the success of their ad spend beyond “bumper sticker” metrics that don’t actually show the true impact. “It’s a challenge, but worth the effort… everything worthwhile requires more effort,” Brian said. We agree!


Then we watched Jess Hendrix, Chief Marketing Officer at Hy-Vee, take the stage for an interview about her new role at the grocer. Hendrix's remarks were wide-ranging, as she discussed the broader shift in retail to include more experiences that shoppers crave, like Hy-Vee’s new in-store food courts. We know that consumer behavior has evolved, and we applaud efforts to use retail media to create experiences that bring shoppers into the store and keep them coming back for more. That’s why we always say retail media isn’t ad sales; it’s so much more than that. Retailers who recognize this will and act accordingly will see long-term success.


Then we were excited to take the stage for our own panel discussion. Sam Knights, CEO of Threefold and the entire SMG agency network, took the stage for a panel discussion titled The Global Evolution of Retail Media: What’s Next? The panel also included our friends and industry experts:


Ollie Shayer, Director of Omni-Media at Boots


Stuart Michell, Chief Commercial Officer at WHSmith North America


Robin Neufeld, Director of Business Marketing at Loblaw


Jessie Dowd, Editorial Director at the Path to Purchase Institute (moderator)


No retail media topic was off the table, as panelists chatted in-store experience, CTV, cookie deprecation and the future of our industry.


Highlights from Sam

  • Industry Evolution: The industry has rapidly evolved, and it’s exciting to see the industry move conversations from a “should I” get involved in retail media to a “how do I” get involved in retail media.

  • Internal and Retailer Structural Changes: Brands and retailers are reorganizing their structures to better serve retail media. Retailers are more often treating brands as clients and less as customers, representing a much-needed shift.

  • Emphasis on Experimentation and AI: Retailers and brands should always be innovating and experimenting with new technologies, AI and machine learning are not silver bullets to replace human teams, but they can enhance planning, inventory management, and personalization. Don’t get stuck on any one thing – try something new and envision how that will impact your business in the next year, three years, five years and beyond.


Highlights from Ollie

  • In-Store Digital Expansion: Over 80% of transactions occur in-store, driving Boots' aggressive digitization efforts, including installing 600 screens across 450 stores and enhancing experiential marketing. Soon 88% of UK shoppers will live near a Boots store with digital displays.

  • Programmatic and Experiential Marketing: In the next era of retail media, stores must be activatable and experiential, providing brands with opportunities for interactive and memorable customer experiences.

  • CTV and Full-Funnel Marketing: Boots was first to market to leverage its data via Connected TV (CTV) in the UK, and CTV will continue to be a lucrative touchpoint for advertisers.


Highlights from Stuart

  • High Footfall and Consumer Engagement: WHSmith North America owns travel stores at airports in the US. These stores offer a unique opportunity for advertisers, from high footfall and the unique consumer mindset, which includes higher dwell time and greater openness to new products.

  • Reintroducing Fun in Travel Retail: Retailers should bring joy and excitement back to travel retail, creating memorable and fun experiences for consumers. Kids love going to the airport – airport retailers to consider how to make those experiences fun for adult consumers, too.

  • Localized Branding and Flexibility: Travel retail stores have the opportunity to get really local. These stores create a sense of community in airports with localized branding and the flexibility to experiment with regional brands and activations based on regional events.


Highlights from Robin

  • Canadian Market Evolution: Retail Media in North America, and Canada in particular, has been focused on a digital, sponsored products perspective, mimicking Amazon’s strategy. Now retailers like Loblaw are investing in-store to offer brands more powerful opportunities to reach shoppers.

  • Omnichannel Platform and AI: Focus on building an omnichannel platform to simplify media buying and optimize marketing efforts using AI, leveraging extensive loyalty data.

  • CTV and Retail Media Growth: Video is a great storytelling format; it always has been. But advertisers have so far had limited tools on a frequent cadence about what’s actually working. The targeting and measurement capabilities related to CTV are powerful and will help advertisers measure the impact of video campaigns.


Then, on Wednesday evening, we celebrated the winners of this year's Retail Media Awards, which this year included Threefold Co-Founder Matthew Lee, and Boots' Ollie Shayer. Congratulations to Matt, Ollie and all of this year's recipients!


Later, we hosted the Official After Party with our friends from LiveRamp, which brought more than 200 commerce marketing professionals out for networking, cocktails and live music late into the night. Thank you to everyone who attended for making this party even bigger than last year’s post-event celebration!


Finally, after the content wrapped up on Thursday, we gathered a group of retailers for an unforgettable night with The Rolling Stones. Thank you to our friends at the Ascendant Network and P2PI for helping us gather these VIP guests for the concert at Soldier Field. What a night!


Photos from Retail Media Summit




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 380 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, Co-op Media Network, Morrisons Media Group, ASDA's LS Eleven Media Services and retail media for The Very Group.

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