Retail Reimagined: How Retail Media Networks Reshape the Customer Journey 

March 31, 2023

From shoppable social ads to the rise of retail media networks, the customer’s path to purchase is shifting. To explore new advertising opportunities in retail and e-commerce, Fluent recently hosted a panel discussion in partnership with She Runs It, a global organization dedicated to empowering women in marketing, media, and tech. 

Industry leaders from Nespresso, Merkle, Church & Dwight, Beam Suntory, Camuto Group, and Wavemarker gathered at Fluent’s HQ in NYC to discuss emerging trends in the retail industry – and, more specifically, how they’re leveraging retail media networks to drive sales. 

Powered by a retailer’s first-party shopper data, retail media includes digital advertising on a retailer’s owned and operated assets or third-party publishers’ properties. Below we outline some key takeaways from the session, including the benefits of a strong retail media strategy and tips for getting started with this advertising channel. 

Benefits of Retail Media Networks 

As the second-fastest-growing major ad format in the US, closely behind connected TV (CTV),  retail media is ushering in a new wave of digital advertising. To put things in perspective – it took only five years for retail media to ramp up from $1 billion to $30 billion – that’s more than twice as fast as it took social media (11 years) and search (14 years) to accomplish the same.

Why is retail media growing at such a quick clip? The feedback from our panelists can be summed up in the following points:

Access a trove of first-party data

From transactional histories and loyalty programs to email lists and other customer touchpoints, retailers are flush with first-party data. With the deprecation of third-party cookies and mobile identifiers complicating targeting and measurement, these insights are critical for advertisers seeking to get closer to their ideal customers.

Reach consumers in the buying mindset

Retail media ads often appear as display units connected to product or category searches or personalized offers delivered on e-commerce confirmation pages. This proximity to the point of purchase ensures you’ll reach consumers at a pivotal moment in the customer journey.

Connect online and in-store experiences

The retail industry is entering an exciting new era where online and offline shopping experiences converge. In addition to driving in-store sales, retail media can influence brand awareness and consideration through high-quality creative on front-of-store kiosks, checkout aisles, smart carts, and more.

Tips for Navigating the Retail Media Landscape

eMarketer projects retail media will be a $45 billion business by the end of 2023. And while Amazon makes up the lion’s share of retail media ad spend, companies such as Walmart and Instacart will be ones to watch in 2023 as they continue to build out their retail media capabilities. To make the most of this growing channel, our panelists advised the audience to keep the following in mind:

Invest in in-house talent

Retail media is still in its infancy, and to get it right, you’ll need an internal resource committed to learning the ropes. Look for individuals with an innate curiosity and willingness to manipulate and interpret data. As new retail media networks emerge, you’ll want someone that can weigh the strengths of each (e.g., access to data, insights, and targeting) and determine those worth investing in.

Make measurement a priority

While measurement in the retail media space is still imperfect, the tight link between retail media ads and transactions allows marketers to attribute sales and other conversions directly to their ads. As retail media ads move into display, video, and streaming TV, it will be more important than ever for brands to bring their offline and online sales data together to measure the impact of their ad spend. 

Partner with Fluent to Elevate Your Retail Media Strategy

Did you know that Fluent offers exclusive post-transaction inventory? Leveraging a robust network of online retailers and publishers, Adflow Ads enables marketers to reach consumers with targeted ads when their likelihood to buy is at its highest. Flexible offer placements on e-commerce confirmation pages ensure complete control over who sees your offers and where.

Ready to convert new customers through Fluent’s premium post-transaction inventory? Connect with us here to get started.