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In-store transformation, leveraging loyalty and other lessons from Scala's 'What's In Store for Retail Media Networks'

Threefold this week attend "What's In Store for Retail Media Networks" a London event hosted by our friends at Scala, a STRATACACHE company. Sam Knights, CEO of Threefold and the SMG agency network, was invited to take the stage to chat about leveraging retailers’ data in a cookieless era. Scala tapped our Chief Strategy Officer Katie Streeter Hurle to discuss retail media measurement best practices, and our Senior Insights Director Bianca Hall talked approaches to in-store measurement.

From left: Ana Maria Guerra (Colgate-Palmolive), Dean Harris (Co-op Media Network, Katie Streeter Hurle (SMG), Jeffrey Bustos (IAB)
From left: Ana Maria Guerra (Colgate-Palmolive), Dean Harris (Co-op Media Network, Katie Streeter Hurle (SMG), Jeffrey Bustos (IAB)

We were thankful to gain another opportunity to share our 15+ years of insights and share ideas with our peers in retail media. Amid engaging discussions and thought-provoking presentations, several key themes emerged, each offering implications for the evolution of retail media.

We’ve dug a little deeper into three of those themes:

1. Digital in-store transformation is enhancing retail

The retail landscape has undergone significant transformation, with a meteoric rise in e-commerce and a more recent refocus on the in-store experience. This shift toward digitization within physical retail spaces (screens, in-store audio, etc.) is driven by various factors, including limitations faced by in-store associates in implementing traditional media, sustainability concerns and the need for greater control over displayed content across store fleets. As highlighted by Tesco’s Nick Ashley, embracing digital solutions has improved store aesthetics, enhanced brand visibility and offered a more tailored approach to media content.

One of the key challenges in transitioning to digital in-store environments lies in the adaptation of creative content to suit the unique dynamics of retail spaces. Unlike traditional advertising mediums, digital in-store displays require specialized creative designs that cater to the specific context of the retail environment. Vanessa Henry, Research Director at Walnut International talked through factors, such as color psychology, movement dynamics, and strategic placement, which are critical considerations in capturing shoppers’ attention effectively.

The digitization of retail spaces not only facilitates seamless integration between in-store and online campaigns but also offers advertisers greater flexibility in optimizing their marketing strategies in real time. By leveraging digital technologies, brands can experiment with creative formats, measure campaign performance and explore cross-channel synergies to enhance overall campaign effectiveness. However, it's essential to recognize that while digital mediums offer unparalleled opportunities for creativity and innovation, traditional static media in stores still holds significant potential for engaging consumers and fostering brand loyalty.

2. Robust measurement secures brand investment

RMNs' measurement and analytics capabilities are crucial in brands’ abilities to evaluate campaign effectiveness and drive tangible results. Despite perceived challenges associated with closed-loop measurement, it is entirely feasible to implement robust methodologies to assess the impact of in-store initiatives.

Measurement doesn’t need to be complicated, and it ultimately boils down to three questions: “Did I see the media? Did I engage with the media? Did I buy the product?,” according to Hall. At Threefold, we have a strong understanding of the third point—did I buy it? We use a test vs. control methodology that enables our experts to isolate media and measure its incremental impact. Employing the same approach and consistent metrics across retailers and hundreds of unique touchpoints enables an in-depth understanding of campaign performance.

When it comes to “did I see the media?,” we use transactional data alongside metadata, such as aisle penetration, to estimate impressions. It’s a good proxy for brands, and there's a huge opportunity to go even deeper with this, said Hall.

For brands navigating the diverse landscape of RMNs, prioritizing measurement and results is imperative to optimizing retail media investments. A data-driven approach enables brands to gauge the incremental value generated by different media channels and tailor their strategies accordingly. Whether it's conducting A/B tests, analyzing loyalty data or implementing comprehensive media mix modeling, measurement serves as the cornerstone of informed decision-making in retail marketing.

Achieving measurement excellence requires a nuanced understanding of individual brand objectives, audience dynamics and channel performance. By embracing a holistic approach to measurement, brands can uncover actionable insights, identify optimization opportunities and drive sustained growth across diverse retail environments.

"Understanding a shopper's journey through the store as technology capabilities in this area grow is crucial. Brands are increasingly focused on both earning and learning, demonstrating ROI from top-of-funnel awareness to bottom-line impact. Retail media, with its closed-loop measurement and granular shopper behavior insights, represents a significant opportunity for brands to earn and learn, perhaps more than any other channel in the market."
- Bianca Hall, Senior Insights Director

3. Using loyalty data unlocks personalized marketing

In the constantly shifting landscape of data privacy regulations and the depreciation of cookies, retailers’ loyalty programs have emerged as a potent tool for brands to cultivate personalized relationships with shoppers. By offering tailored incentives, exclusive experiences and value-driven rewards, brands can foster deeper connections with their audience and drive long-term loyalty using retailers' first-party data. The shift toward loyalty-driven marketing necessitates a strategic rethink of customer engagement strategies emphasizing delivering genuine value and relevance. Whether it's through personalized offers, curated content or immersive experiences, brands must align loyalty initiatives with the evolving needs and preferences of consumers.

Furthermore, the integration of loyalty data across various touchpoints presents an opportunity for brands to orchestrate cohesive campaigns that resonate throughout the customer journey. By leveraging advanced analytics and audience segmentation techniques, brands can unlock actionable insights, optimize campaign performance and deliver seamless omnichannel experiences that drive measurable impact.

There is a fine line between hyper-personalization being seen as obtrusive versus adding value. Knights gave brilliant examples of beloved personalization strategies, such as Spotify’s Wrapped, which annually offers users statistics and experiences related to their music listening habits. It’s key to use consumer data in a way that improves their experience without bothering them, or worse, creeping them out.

The convergence of digital innovation, robust measurement practices and customer-centric loyalty initiatives heralds a new era of retail marketing. By embracing these transformative trends, brands can enhance the in-store experience and foster lasting connections with their audience, driving sustainable growth in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

That’s another event in the books – thanks for the invite and for a great day, Scala!

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

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 and Morrisons Media Group and additional live partners include major retailers like Asda, The Co-op and The Very Group.


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