The Rise of eRetail Media

Retail media has long been thought of as a poor relation in marketing and sales circles. The sales guys don’t think it is important as sales promotion, the consumer marketing teams berate it for a lack of data and retailers themselves have focused more on selling their media than demonstrating the value it can bring. Media agencies have not really had it on their radar.  This has all meant that retail media has historically been the little brother who was ignored and a little bit picked on - but has now grown up and is surprising a few people with what it can do.

Prior to the pandemic eMarketer predicted global ecommerce sales would more than double to £6.3bn by 2024. Ecommerce was a big deal. Now in the midst of a pandemic the same source states that there have been 150m new ecommerce buyers in 2020 and the UK ONS figures show that May ecommerce sales were 60% up year on year and bigger than December 2019 peak season sales.  Ecommerce has become even more important. With this backdrop, eRetail media is becoming an increasingly significant way to present your brand, reach consumers and drive sales.

My view is that in the next year eRetail media will transform marketing results for those that work hardest on it.  It will become as essential to an integrated plan as Search, Social, TV or programmatic. Certainly as we look to the US and see the growth of eRetail media and developments from Amazon, Walmart, Target and Kroger amongst others, it seems inevitable that the growth over there will be replicated quickly in other key markets globally.

There are just too many compelling reasons to re-appraise eRetail media and step up your work if you haven’t already. For a marketer now, so much of the brand experience is happening on that getting your content right and influencing consumers via media is critical.  For more commercial teams, eRetail media is becoming essential to win in the category online.  Whilst historically sales teams look to gondola ends and promotion as a broad sword to win in store and online, there are now so many more ways to win on eRetail, which require new expertise.

The big challenge to mainstream eRetail media has been its lack of accountability and transparency. Data and measurement have not been comparable to other media formats. Against a backdrop of this, CitrusAd have now announced five new partnerships with retailers with the most visible to me being Sainsbury’s in the UK.  The transformation in data and media available on their platform is extremely significant. It replicates a great deal of what we are used to seeing from Amazon and Criteo, but the fact that a mainstream grocery retailer now has such detailed data changes the game. The CitrusAd platform now enables Sainsbury’s and the Nectar360 team to give you all the key information you need to know to understand the performance and value driven by its online media.

I know that there are some very smart people out there at retail thinking about how they can bring the same kind of capability to their offer. I would expect further great changes in eRetail media in the next year and it is something that those with a future facing eye will want to focus on significantly to drive their business forward in these challenging times.