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Can advertisers overcome the RMN measurement challenges? Exploring the Rippl effect

Despite their massive popularity, retail media networks have been plagued from the start with measurement shortcomings, most notably the disparity among methods across retailers. Read our blog to see how advertisers can overcome these challenges and prove ROAS.

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Steve Dietch

Oct 25, 2023

min read

Despite their massive popularity, retail media networks have been plagued from the start with measurement shortcomings, most notably the disparity among methods across retailers. And since retailers usually do not share their data or their particular measurement methodology with brand partners, the lack of transparency also puts a strain on the retailer-advertiser relationship. How can both parties overcome these challenges to monetize data and prove ROAS?

RMN has an ongoing measurement problem

Ideally, advertisers who partner with retailers to advertise on their media networks should be able to close the loop on customer purchase decisions and overall campaign performance. The whole appeal of advertising on these networks, after all, is to take advantage of first-party data to drive performance and reach incremental audiences. In a recent survey conducted by IAB, RMN ad buyers reported plans to increase spend by 11% YoY in 2023. Their top motivators were to:

  • Reach incremental audiences (55%)
  • Leverage retailer first-party data (52%)
  • Drive performance (48%) 
  • Leverage customer data (45%)

The reality, however, looks fairly different. In the same IAB study, 62% of buyers cited the lack of measurement standards as a top challenge, with nearly 60% expressing a need for greater transparency. Overall, collaboration and communication is an area of opportunity for retailers offering these networks. Sixty percent of ad buyers reported wanting better collaboration and communication, while only 12% said they were “very satisfied” with their RMN partner relationships.

First-party insufficiency drives the divide 

At the core of the regional retailer/advertiser relationship is the first-party data driving the retail media network’s success.

Many retailers simply lack the necessary data scale to warrant advertiser spend in the first place. 

Furthermore, for those that do move forward with a partnership, the data supporting campaign audiences often turns out to be lacking in depth. It’s also usually still aggregated, making it difficult for advertisers to derive insights that would inform future decision making.

On the measurement front, advertisers are also dependent on their retail partner to deliver metrics. How can advertisers know that these measurements are accurate? Additionally, for advertisers taking advantage of multiple networks, it’s almost impossible to compare campaign performance, since each retailer usually uses its own measurement methodologies and standards.

Rippl sparks a sea change for RMN

Our new data and media network Rippl helps mitigate these challenges by bringing multiple regional retailers together into one network, expanding and enhancing their first-party data along the way. As a result, advertisers have one point of access to a national footprint of individual shoppers at scale, allowing them to more efficiently and effectively execute multi-retailer campaigns with consistent measurement capabilities.

For advertisers, Rippl unlocks a new level of granularity and transparency when it comes to shopper data, accessible via a user-friendly interface or streamlined data lake. They can create tailored audiences and enable direct offsite digital media activation. They can also analyze the actual impact of their efforts on sales through transactions and SKU-level purchase data tied to media impression logs to provide visibility to sales attribution. Using behavioral shopper data, advertisers can further derive insights at the intersection of trade, promotion, and media to optimize their spend with tactics that drive maximum brand volume.

About Rippl

The Rippl data and media network unlocks regional retailer and advertiser collaboration through enriched first party data using Bridg's proprietary offline identity resolution capability. Advertisers have access to regional retailers’ first party data to execute campaigns across multiple retailers with consistent measurement and improved retailer collaboration.

Contact us today to learn more.

Network of different data points

Unlocking regional retailer and advertiser collaboration with Rippl data media and network, powered by Bridg

Rippl data and media network, powered by Bridg, is unlocking advertiser and regional retailer collaboration, with the potential to create new revenue opportunities for retailers and enhanced consumer engagement for advertisers. Learn more about this exciting new opportunity.

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Jennifer Ortner

Aug 24, 2023

min read

Rippl data and media network, powered by Bridg, is unlocking advertiser and regional retailer collaboration, with the potential to create new revenue opportunities for retailers and enhanced consumer engagement for advertisers. Learn more about this exciting new opportunity. 

Is the RMN opportunity adding up? 

Retail media networks are a great opportunity – with a fair number of limitations. According to a recent report by LiveIntent, 73% of marketers reported plans to increase RMN investment in 2023. Additionally, 65% of retailers believe that retail media will help them expand revenue opportunities through advertising and sponsorship. But despite all the positive attitudes and investments, nearly half of advertisers have expressed frustration with the lack of inventory for RMNs. In other words, there just aren’t enough opportunities to advertise on these networks and measure the return.

The insights also aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Typically, advertisers can only access campaign audiences in aggregate form, which means they can’t gain a true understanding of individual purchase behavior that would drive more strategic decision making. 

Advertisers also struggle with closing the loop on measurement because retailer methodologies vary so much across networks, leading to a lack of standardization in reporting practices. They find themselves unable to authenticate the accuracy of measurements, and face difficulties in comparing program outcomes across different networks or against alternative tactics. 

These limitations are even more pronounced for regional retailers

While many retailers struggle to gain the first-party data scale necessary to deliver sufficient audiences for profitable RMN partnerships, these challenges only compound for regional retailers. Many of these retailers rely on loyalty data captured via self-identification at checkout as their sole source of first party insight. The loyalty approach introduces two key shortcomings: first, loyalty programs do not include every shopper, or even the average shopper at a given retailer. Second, many of those that do join will fail to identify at checkout. As a result, the retailer’s loyalty data paints a very incomplete picture of the target audience.

Additionally, for many regional grocers and convenience stores, even having data on every single shopper wouldn’t be enough. Regional retailers are simply too small to produce the scale of insight needed for effective RMN advertising. At a minimum, retailers need to produce information on about 50 million shoppers to create a viable investment opportunity for advertisers. 

Introducing Rippl, the regional retail data and media network  
For regional retailers

On their own, regional retailers can’t produce enough data to justify or sustain brand investment in retail media networks. Together, however, they make up an appealing segment for advertisers. 

Rippl data and media network, powered by Bridg allows regional retailers to join forces to create sufficient first-party data audience scale, offering advertisers a national footprint for retail media investment.

It’s a win-win: regional retailers can enter the RMN game and access a new, profitable revenue stream, while advertisers gain access to a whole new audience that was previously impossible to target on an individual, deterministic basis. Retailers could also benefit from enhanced operational collaboration with advertising partners across trade, media and shopper marketing.

Benefits for regional retailers with Rippl
For advertisers

Thanks to our leading identity resolution capabilities, the sum total of regional data also expands significantly as we help each retailer identify unknown in-store shoppers. As a result, advertisers gain a unified view of individual shoppers across retailers with SKU-level purchase insight, rather than the aggregate view to which they’ve been limited with other RMNs.

Advertisers can now enjoy remarkable new insight into previously unreachable shoppers with ~100+ enriching attributes to create more sophisticated audiences, enhance targeting and personalization, and drive transparent, consistent measurement. Advertisers will also receive access to profiles and transactions to perform their own campaign analysis, which creates more opportunities for transparent, consistent measurement across RMN investments.

Finally, advertisers will also be able to work hand-in-hand with Bridg and the Rippl network to enhance trade and media spend optimization, product innovation and positioning, and messaging using individual shopper data.

Benefits for advertisers with Rippl

As the RMN world continues to evolve, new offerings are taking shape that unlock greater transparency, precision and scale for retailers of all sizes. We’re thrilled to bring more retailers into the fold and solve key challenges advertisers at the same time through our exclusive identity resolution capabilities.

Contact us today to tap into the Rippl network and expand your regional reach today.

Hand holding an ice-cream cone

Sweeten the deal this summer with ice cream at the C-store

Ice cream was the big winner at the C-store during Summer 2022. Will this year be a repeat? With budgets tightening due to inflation, make sure you're positioned to serve up a strategy that responds to your local market.

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Loren Wilson

Jun 27, 2023

min read

Ice cream was the big winner at the C-store during Summer 2022. Will this year be a repeat? With budgets tightening due to inflation, make sure you're positioned to serve up a strategy that responds to your local market.

Can ice cream continue its big impact? 

Consumers scream for ice cream. As a member of the frozen foods category, ice cream offers both convenience and value at the C-store. In general, frozen food products come with a longer shelf life, and depending on the brand, an easier price point for C-store shoppers. Ice cream’s popularity with consumers hasn’t just boosted sales—it has moved forward the entire C-store image. Anne-Marie Roerink, principal at 210 Analytics, credits ice cream and frozen novelties as the “flagship offering” that helped C-stores evolve past their “gasoline, cigarettes, soda and beer” core pillars for driving foot traffic. 

But despite ice cream’s recent success, inflation-driven prices are likely to slow some of the booming sales of last summer. The C-store in particular is feeling the squeeze more than non-C-store competitors. Ice cream/sherbet units are down 3% over the last year, compared to a 6% decrease for C-stores.

Consumer preferences 

C-stores still have the opportunity to serve up value with their product assortment. Stuart Common, managing director at Mackieś of Scotland, recommends focusing on variety, availability and communicating promotions. Before you can make decisions around inventory and promotions, however, you need to understand your local market’s specific needs. Frozen novelties, after all, come with their own nuances as far as consumer behaviors and preferences.

Daypart plays a big role

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, two out of three consumers eat ice cream at night.

Options are everything

Much like with pizza, the feeling of having options is important to consumers. Magnum Minis, which offer more portions, grew 8.3% faster than the category. This summer, the brand plans to offer a Mini Caramel Multipack Collection as well.

The more unique, the better

Unique offerings like Ben & Jerry’s Topped, Haagen-Daz Butter Cookie cones and mochi ice cream have also performed well. 

Don’t forget the vegan option

Variety can also include non-dairy options, like NadaMoo! Frozen Snack Bites.

Maximize sales this summer with 1P data

If you want to keep up the sweet momentum from last summer, it’s critical to apply these trends to your local market. Price sensitivity, for example, is an extremely important factor given the impact of inflation on recent frozen novelty sales. Insights on frequency, daypart, brand loyalty, SKU-level purchase history and more will help complete the picture of how, when and what your shoppers want to buy as related to ice cream.

If you’re thinking of launching a retail media network, these insights are even more critical to a successful partnership with an ice cream brand.

You can also use store insights to place in-store signage and interactive elements. In the case of mochi ice cream, some C-stores utilize freezers with small video screens, introducing an in-store advertising opportunity. 

In order to gather this information, you need to be able to identify the individual behind in-store transactions. Historically, brick-and-mortar operations like the C-store have struggled to do this given POS system limitations and privacy regulations. An offline identity resolution solution can help you identify shoppers in a privacy-safe way.

By shoring up as many first-party insights as possible and enriching them with second and third-party data sources, you can begin to build privacy-safe, verified longitudinal profiles on all your shoppers – then personalize your ice cream strategy according to the needs and preferences of your local market.

Start today with Bridg

Take advantage of our exclusive offline identity resolution solution to start identifying and engaging your in-store shoppers. Plus, get the granular insights you need to meet your shoppers’ every ice cream need. 

We build dynamic campaign audiences that draw from over 300 attributes, including purchase history, demographics, and socioeconomic and lifestyle factors so you can personalize based on actual purchases, preferred items, frequency, price sensitivity, promotional history, daypart and channel preferences. Contact us today to learn more. 

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Myth #6: If you have a loyalty program, you have the data you need for a RMN

Is loyalty data a sufficient basis for RMNs? In a word, no. Learn more in Part 6 of our RMN series.

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Jennifer Ortner

Jun 1, 2023

min read

Retail media networks are enjoying a meteoric rise to prominence, but how do you know if they’re a good investment for your company? In this series, we’ll explore common misconceptions about these networks from both the retailer and brand perspective, providing you with everything you need to know to make informed decisions when it comes to retail media commitments.

Missed the previous blog in this series? Click here to read. 

Don’t get us wrong—we are all about the loyalty data. When it comes to sources of first-party data, loyalty programs are a primary option. But if you’re planning to launch or scale your retail media network (RMN), you need more than a loyalty program to gain enough first-party insights to succeed.

Make no mistake, loyalty programs are great

There’s a reason the loyalty management market is worth $5.57B and has a projected 23.5% annual growth rate. Many organizations are doubling down on loyalty, with 69% of brand executives reporting an increase in loyalty investments over the past two years. Point blank, loyalty programs are good for business.

Sixty-four percent of loyalty program members spend more money to maximize points earnings, and 62% of consumers spend more money on a brand after signing up for a paid loyalty program. 

From increased basket size to a greater likelihood of customer referrals, what’s not to love about a loyalty shopper? Plus, with the deprecation of the third-party cookie looming, they’re a source of first-party data to power targeted marketing campaigns.

But they can’t be the only 1P data source 

Despite the many positives of a loyalty program, their newfound use case as a source of first-party data for RMNs is not their strongest. Yes, the first-party data you get from loyalty programs is valid. Even the best loyalty programs, however, leave data gaps that create an incomplete picture of customers and undermine personalization and targeting.

Successful loyalty penetration rates are generally between 25-40%, with exceptional programs hitting 50-70%. Even if you have a highly successful rate of enrollment, the insights you pull from program data will not reflect 100% of your customer base. And that’s assuming consistent participation from those who do enroll.

According to the Harvard Business Review, only 42% of brand executives think their customer loyalty strategies are effective.

Keep in mind that a loyalty participant is someone with an above-average affinity or interaction level for/with your brand. So, your loyalty data is not giving you any insight into the purchasing attitudes, preferences and behaviors of the average shopper. Also, you should expect at least some degree of loyalty fatigue. The average American consumer belongs to 16.7 customer loyalty programs. What are the odds they remember to participate actively in each and every one?

Identify & enhance, then engage

When it comes to launching an RMN, you don’t just need shopper insights. You need shopper insights at scale to make the most of the brand dollars at your disposal. Loyalty data is a good start, but you should absolutely look to expand and enhance your first-party foundation. If your operation has a brick-and-mortar component, you will need to make sure you can identify the individual behind in-store transactions—something a quality identity resolution solution can help with.

Credit and debit card payments provide abbreviated shopper information that, if leveraged in a privacy-safe way, can help you identify and understand more in-store customers. In addition, make sure you’re pulling data from each and every customer touchpoint—from social to email to website and beyond. You can also enrich your 1P data with second-and-third party data to create more comprehensive profiles with a greater number of attributes for segmentation purposes.

Go beyond loyalty with Bridg
When it comes to retail media, there’s a lot of opportunity—and a lot of competition. Don’t launch an ineffective offering and miss out on market share because you don’t have the proper data scale. Loyalty is a good start, but it’s not nearly enough to power a truly effective retail media network. 

We help our customers significantly grow their first party shopper data to create and maximize monetization opportunities with market-leading offline identity resolution capabilities, as well as a proprietary database and highly sophisticated algorithms. By helping brick and mortar operations leverage credit and debit cards to identify the individual behind in-store transactions, we unlock new monetization opportunities, precision targeting, reporting transparency, closed-loop measurement and more. 

Contact us today to learn more.

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Myth #5: Onsite is the place to be

Spoiler alert: if you’re launching a retail media network, onsite media isn’t the only place to be. Learn more in Part 5 of our RMN series.

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May 24, 2023

min read

Retail media networks are enjoying a meteoric rise to prominence, but how do you know if they’re a good investment for your company? In this series, we’ll explore common misconceptions about these networks from both the retailer and brand perspective, providing you with everything you need to know to make informed decisions when it comes to retail media commitments.

Missed the previous blog in this series? Click here to read. 

Once you have a sufficient data layer and comprehensive tech stack for your retail media network, where should you actually, well, deliver media? While retail display and sponsored search may seem like a natural starting point, these options also come with some important considerations.

Yes, onsite and search have their appeal

Your retail site is a part of the purchase journey. And there’s no denying it: if you have a website, you’re sitting on a treasure trove of advertising appeal. Retail sites are the most visited touchpoint for online buyers prior to making a purchase. In other words, shoppers go directly to the retail site rather than searching the product they’re interested in on Google. And the proof is in the purchase: almost ¼ of shoppers purchase at least two advertised products. Search position also makes a significant difference: 90% of products purchased appear on the first page of search results.

Onsite ads and paid search are also highly coveted by brands, since it’s more difficult to stand out on the “digital shelf” than the physical one. Since brand appeal is the crux of retail media networks to begin with, why wouldn’t you start with onsite? Retail display ads also create a seamless journey from interest to purchase. The CTA button can read “Add to cart” rather than directing shoppers to the website to view the product. Plus, it’s easy to measure sales down to the SKU—it’s all happening right on your site!

But at what cost?

It’s not hard to see why onsite and search are great options to scale your retail media network. But have you considered some of the constraints? First, keep in mind that onsite inventory is ultimately limited. Your site is just one digital property, after all. Can you maximize your revenue based on available brand budgets through an onsite approach? Plus, how are you going to increase traffic to your site to grow inventory and monetization given that most retailers’ owned properties reach only a portion of the overall customer base?

Second, don’t overlook what it takes to launch and manage this type of advertising. Activating these ads and delivering analytics both require significant time and effort from your IT and (often) marketing teams. Onsite requires a substantial internal support effort that your team may not be able to accommodate. They also simply lack expertise in the solution.

Don’t discount the offsite opportunities

One major advantage to offsite advertising is that you can let someone else do most of the heavy lifting. You don’t have to expend internal resources since external parties complete the larger effort involved. Offsite, in most cases, will also go faster, bringing brands closer to the positive ROI metrics they’re after when they invest in your network. And, offsite inventory is virtually infinite. You can deterministically reach your audience where they already are.

In the end, delivering on ROI/ROAS is infinitely more important for your brand partners than the perceived value of onsite vs. offsite at the start of the RMN partnership. Assuming you have a sufficiently scaled first-party audience, you can also make the most of the brand budgets at your disposal with a vastly expanded set of channel options. 

Start how you want to finish 

A scaled first-party audience is a non-negotiable for any RMN effort, but depending on your internal bandwidth and brand opportunities, offsite will be a better starting point for your advertising network than onsite. When strategizing your network, it’s critical to think holistically about not just the benefits of a certain approach, but also the realities of activating and sustaining it.

We help our retail clients expand and enhance their first-party data to maximize the return on their RMN offering. Contact us today to learn more.

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Why Brands Don’t Need to Hesitate on RMNs

Brands are expressing reluctance to buy RMN ads, but with the right partner ecosystem, retailers can inspire newfound optimism.

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Loren Wilson

May 16, 2023

min read

The retail media business is booming, but not everyone is as enthusiastic about it as meets the eye. A new report from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) reveals that many brands are participating reluctantly—and don’t feel all that confident about retailer data. What factors can help drive brand confidence in retail media networks (RMNs) for the future? 

Brands are buying, but are they enthusiastic about it?

The ANA’s “Retail Media Networks: A Forced Marriage or Perfect Partnership?” spells potential trouble for retailers and their brand partners. Evaluating the usefulness of RMNs on a scale of “Valuable marketing tool” to “Cost of doing business,” 42% of brands respondents located themselves squarely in the middle of the two options. Thirty-one percent chose “Valuable marketing tool,” and 28% selected “Cost of doing business.”

Clearly, not everyone views a RMN investment as a value generator. In fact, many feel somewhat forced into the partnerships.

Eighty-eight percent of brand respondents indicated that they were “somewhat or heavily influenced” by retailers to invest in RMNs.

In other words, the RMN investment feels like a “have to” more than a “want to.” Part of the problem is the sheer number of groups and interests at play, including brand team marketers, trade and promotion, shopper marketing and more. 

Everything’s not lost

While the brand sentiment expressed in the ANA report is less than ideal, hope may still spring eternal for retailers. Why? A majority of brands expressed a more positive outlook for the future. Fifty-two percent of RMN buyers expect the networks to be viewed as a “valuable marketing tool” over the next two years (compared to the 31% that currently view them in that light). In fact, brands offered a 4:1 vote of confidence in RMN potential (22% vs. 5%). The optimism is a reaction to the testing efforts currently underway to help align RMN performance with brand KPIs. For brands, the ability to optimize and measure campaigns according to business objectives is a fundamental priority moving forward. 

Data and sales make the difference

So what’s going to make the difference for brands? What will make or break the transition from reluctant to optimistic buyer? Two big factors. Brand advertisers indicated that leveraging first-party data (56%) and directly driving sales (51%) were “very important” opportunities related to how their companies use RMNs.

First-party data is highly valued given its role in making up for the deprecation of third-party cookies. Plus, one priority feeds into the other. Without verified, first-party shopper data at scale, RMNs can’t deliver on the targeting and personalization opportunities that ultimately drive incremental sales. 

Unfortunately, right now, retailers aren’t hitting the mark when it comes to data. 

Fifty-seven percent of advertiser respondents expressed frustration with the lack of standardization across platforms, as well as issues with the amount, quality and consistency of data reporting for individual RMNs.
With the right partner, there’s no need to hesitate

Despite the poor marks, the data challenge is far from insurmountable for retailers. It’s just a matter of making sure you have the right partner ecosystem in place to expand and enhance current holdings. With the right identity resolution, retailers can close the gaps in their shopper data to identify and understand all customers—known, unknown, loyalty, non-loyalty, online and offline – effectively scaling their first-party holdings.

Identity resolution is particularly important for retailers with an in-store component, since most brick-and-mortar operations lack mechanisms to identify the individual behind the in-store transaction. Point-of-sale (POS) data can help solve this challenge and support comprehensive shopper profiles regardless of channel or card used. It’s also important to enhance shopper data to create the maximum number of attributes for segmentation, incorporating factors like purchase history, demographics, and socioeconomic and lifestyle factors. Brands can also seek third-party partnership to make sure they have verified customer insights and reliable measurement capabilities. 

It takes the right data, at scale, to compete 

Retailers cannot compete moving forward, or assuage growing apprehension from brands, without ample first-party data and measurement capabilities. The right partner can help expand both. Brands have to take a close look at their retail partner’s data capabilities before engaging—and seek outside partnership to gain a deeper understanding of performance.

The Bridg data and audience platform helps retailers get the first-party scale they need to launch and grow retail media networks. We also help brands and advertisers improve retail collaboration and gain unprecedented insight into consumer transaction behavior. Contact us to learn more.

Hand reaching out for a slice of pizza

What C-stores can learn from pizza

Pizza is thriving at the C-store. What can marketers learn from its success?

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Steve Dietch

May 10, 2023

min read

Inflation may be driving pain at the pump—but it's also driving consumers inside the C-store for a cheaper slice of pizza. What can we learn from pizza's recent success? 

Pizza is thriving at the C-store

It’s hard to imagine a time when pizza wasn’t popular, but continued inflation is shaking up the landscape of where consumers turn for their favorite slice. According to Technomic’s 2022 Pizza Consumer Trend Report, 17% of consumers have started seeking cheaper pizza options due to rising prices. Who’s been answering the call for a more budget-friendly pie? C-stores, and the effort is paying off. 

The lure of cheaper pizza is proving profitable, as pizza programs are helping to boost C-store sales around the country. For example, Cubby’s convenience stores, which offer both Godfather’s Pizza and Godfather’s Express, reported that pizza sales were up 14% YoY

What does pizza’s newfound prominence tell us about C-store customers?

Takeaway #1: They’re looking to the C-store as a replacement to restaurants

Beyond price, pizza’s success also indicates the growing interest in C-store food offerings as a meal replacement. Nouria’s New England stores, which feature a pizza program, have been seeing a “steady increase” in sales at lunch and dinner. Why? For one thing, the quality is there. A majority of U.S. consumers don’t see a big quality difference between food at the C-store and the meals they can get at their neighborhood QSR. According to The Convenience Experience Report, 59% consider C-stores on par with QSRs.

Convenience also plays a role. As wait times at fast food chains lengthen, more consumers are turning to the C-store for a faster option.

Takeaway #2: They like to grab & go 

Pizzas that are already ready-made have extra appeal for C-store customers: 42% said they preferred C-store pizza to be sold as slices. This preference reflects a broader trend in C-stores: the growth of the grab-and-go segment. According to Datassential, more than one in five consumers purchase grab-and-go foods from C-stores “numerous times a week.” Grab-and-go is all about the time savings: when consumers are already on the way to work and stop for gas, they can take care of breakfast, too (provided the C-store has good options)

Takeaway #3: They want options

Yes, C-store customers are generally in a rush, but that doesn’t mean they want one-size-fits-all meal options. According to Technomic’s study, 36% of consumers’ foodservice pizza orders are build-your-own or customized, 28% are one-topping and 19% are chef-designed. And in Datassential’s 2023 C-store Keynote Report, 38% chose “ability to customize toppings,” as a top priority for C-store pizza, while 34% selected “large variety of toppings/flavors.”

Variety is the spice of life—and the source of sales at the C-store.

How can C-stores apply these takeaways?

We know that C-store customers are looking for a variety of quality meal replacements in a convenient, quick format. But before you start drawing up a new marketing plan, it’s critical to understand how these preferences map across your specific customer base. Consider the following:

Can you identify, understand and engage customers who make in-store purchases? 

  • How well do you understand attributes like preferred items, price sensitivity, daypart, frequency and more?
  • Based on past purchases, what other grab-and-go or QSR items besides pizza might attract and retain new customers? 
  • What’s the right price point? Where can you compete—and win?

With SKU-level purchase insights, you can begin to understand which items are most popular, when they’re being purchased—and which new items could boost sales. Finally, once you’ve chosen new items, how will you promote them? Are you able to target the right people with the right offers to drive in-store traffic and sales? You need to have a robust foundation of first-party data and longitudinal profiles on all your customers to deliver on new customer preferences for the C-store.

Get your pizza the pie with Bridg 

Don’t let the opportunity to compete with the right food items pass you by. We help brick-and-mortar businesses identify the individual behind in-store transactions, creating unified, privacy-safe customer profiles with SKU-level purchase behavior and over 300 enriching demographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes. Understand your entire customer base and activate data-driven targeting and personalization strategies across virtually any channel with Bridg. 

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Myth #4: You Don’t Need to Invest in a Full Tech Stack

Contrary to popular belief, a comprehensive tech stack is a non-negotiable for retailers launching retail media networks. Learn more in Part 4 of our RMN series.

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Jennifer Ortner

May 1, 2023

min read

Retail media networks are enjoying a meteoric rise to prominence, but how do you know if they’re a good investment for your company? In this series, we’ll explore common misconceptions about these networks from both the retailer and brand perspective, providing you with everything you need to know to make informed decisions when it comes to retail media commitments.

Missed the previous blog in this series? Click to read Myth 1, Myth 2 and Myth 3.

As costs continue to rise and budgets tighten, it’s tempting to think you can take a lean approach to launching your retail media network. And while that’s true to an extent, you need to make sure you have the right technical capabilities in place to gather, enhance and activate first-party insights—then precisely measure the return. And for that, you need a comprehensive tech stack.

Why your tech stack matters

Tech stack requirements for retail media networks are complex, making them one of the chief hurdles in building and launching a successful network. You may prefer to launch with what you’ve got and figure it out as you go, but you need a full tech stack to maximize the revenue stream you’re creating.

Remember, brand expectations for RMN aren’t just high—they’re all encompassing. You need to deliver not only a breadth and depth of insights but a full-service advertising experience with detailed metrics that prove ROI.

Keep in mind, however, that you don’t have to do it all at once. Consider sequencing implementations as you build toward your end goal. You also don’t need to do everything in-house. There are all kinds of partners out there who can help supplement your tech stack. 

And partnerships aren’t just for smaller players. Wal-mart, for example, recently announced that it would be expanding its offsite media opportunities by partnering with The Trade Desk, launching a demand-side platform called Walmart DSP. The platform gives advertisers access to Wal-mart’s past and predictive audience segments and shopper behavior data across the entire Walmart ecosystem, as well as The Trade Desk’s multi-channel inventory and closed-loop measurement capabilities. 

The identity layer is everything

One area where you absolutely cannot skimp is the data layer. Without a solid foundation of first-party insights, you will not be able to successfully launch targeted ads later in the process.

How do you build this layer? First, focus on creating records by uniting multiple data sources across all customer touchpoints. But simply unifying your data sources doesn’t mean you have viable shopper insights. You will need to dedupe, configure and enhance your data—all in a privacy-safe way.

A word of caution here: as you establish the identity layer, don’t discount the brick-and-mortar shoppers. Do you have the ability to identify those shoppers and connect their purchasing behavior to their online behaviors? A true identity resolution solution can help you understand the individuals behind multiple cards and transactions. The right identity resolution can also help you improve identification rates and match quality on unknown customers. 

Consider enriching this data with demographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes to maximize your segmentation capabilities. At the end, you should have unified, comprehensive shopper profiles from which to build targeted, personalized campaigns.

Also bear in mind that without a large enough audience, you will not be able to take full advantage of the retail media budgets at your brand partners’ disposal. You need to ensure you have the proper scale so that you don’t create over-delivered impressions or, for smaller brands, thwart adequate measurement.

Top-notch advertising & measurement capabilities are crucial

Once you have a solid first-party foundation, aim for a depth and breadth of channels so that you don’t miss any opportunities to influence purchase decisions. To be successful, you need to consider on, off-site and third-party activation across digital and physical properties.To fully monetize for first-party audiences, consider a full service media provider.

Top inventory placements offered by RMNs currently include:

  • Retailer website (dynamic) (68%)
  • Programmatic static display (65%)
  • Retailer email (55%)
  • In-store networks (55%)

Source: (BCG)

Just as important is your ability to provide closed-loop measurement to brands. They need to be able to directly measure ROI, ROAS and incremental sales. You can also leverage these metrics in tandem with your brand partner to help them refine their strategy on the next campaign. Point-of-sale data is a useful resource for tracking purchase behavior so brands can understand the actual sales impact of their investments. 

Get tech-stack savvy & set the foundation for success with Bridg

When it comes to building out your RMN tech stack, you don’t have to go it alone—but you do need to be thorough, especially when it comes to the data and identity layer. We set the foundation for RMN success by helping retailers expand their first-party shopper insights in a privacy-safe way. Connect with us today to learn more about our industry-leading offline identity resolution capabilities.

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What’s on the horizon for retail media networks? 5 Emerging Trends

As the RMN market continues to evolve, how can you grow your revenue moving forward? Explore new trends & tactics.

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Jennifer Ortner

Apr 26, 2023

min read

Everyone wants a piece of the retail media pie. With enviable sales margins and ever-expanding channels, retail media networks (RMNs) open the door to exciting new data monetization and revenue possibilities for retailers. 

As the market continues to evolve, what new trends are emerging and how can retailers grow their revenue moving forward? 

#1: Food spend takes the lead

As more and more retailers throw their hat into the RMN ring, one category is emerging as the frontrunner in terms of growth. According to the Skai 2022 Q2 Quarterly Trends Summary Report, the food category enjoyed the most retail media growth at over 200% YoY. Top retail media networks, as reported by the Association of National Advertisers, are in the food and grocery category, and the entrance of retailers like Kroger, CitrusAd and Instacart to the RMN space have helped drive the spike in food spend. Major chains like Ahold Delhaize and Albertsons also recently created their own media firms, while smaller grocers like Woodman’s have also launched networks. 

According to Grocery Dive, shoppable videos and short clips highlighting store offerings, products and more are becoming a popular advertising model within this category.

Do you have the comprehensive shopper insights and compelling advertising channels to reach grocery shoppers where they are with what they want to buy? 
#2: RMN is going programmatic

Currently, a small number of huge players dominate the market. Amazon stands in a category all its own, with Target and Wal-Mart occupying the lion’s share after that. But that doesn’t mean there’s no market share to spare. A programmatic approach expands both the inventory and marketplace for smaller players. Plus, new technologies are making it easier for retailers to buy across platforms and access multiple ad exchanges.

Brands can also take advantage of more precise targeting and measurement opportunities as well as autonomy when it comes to retargeting.

#3: In-store sales attribution is next

The impact of retail media network advertising is wide – and hard to capture for e-commerce-only operations. For example, an average of 45% of the sales volume driven by Amazon Display ads is on non-Amazon sales. It’s easy to make the connection between online ads and e-commerce sales, but without a set of physical stores, the omnichannel effect remains a matter of projection.

This is a potential area of advantage for retailers with a brick-and-mortar component, since they can directly measure the impact of RMN advertising on in-store sales. Unfortunately, however, many networks can’t capture this wider sales effect all that precisely because they lack mechanisms to identify and understand all of their in-store shoppers and their corresponding purchase behaviors. 

Those who can improve their in-store attribution capabilities stand to gain significant competitive advantage, as those insights will be mission critical moving forward. In a survey conducted by Insider Intelligence, marketers responded that in-store/omnichannel sales data was the second most important attribute for retail media networks.

#4: Data & identity solutions are the key to success

Verified, first-party shopper data at scale forms the foundation for precise targeting and personalization.  As the competition for retail media network market share heats up and brand expectations continue to rise, retailers simply cannot compete without a comprehensive identity layer in their tech stack.  Without it, brands might as well work with their own data and forgo the RMN premium altogether.

Retailers need to deliver comprehensive shopper profiles with extended attributes for maximum monetization.

Unfortunately, many lack the proper scale of first-party insights to get there. Identity resolution solutions can help retailers close the gaps in their shopper data, while second- and third-party data enhancement maximizes opportunities for precision, segmentation, and additional understanding.

#5: Metrics mean business 

Retailers who can’t transparently deliver metrics on KPIs like ROI, ROAS and incremental sales will not be able to compete. It is critical to have a comprehensive, accurate understanding of the customer base in order to both target effectively with media and measure the impact post-campaign. 

A best-in-class RMN measurement suite allows CPGs brands and advertisers to fully understand campaign results and assess performance across RMNs.  Performance drives investment and complete measurement results instill confidence so that brands continue, or increase, their investment in the RMN.

Identify in-store shoppers & build the right foundation for success with Bridg

We help clients identify the individual behind in-store transactions using our exclusive offline resolution capabilities and clients’ POS data. As a result, we help clients significantly expand their first-party data in order to launch more precise targeting and personalization strategies. We also help retailers deliver closed-loop measurement to brand partners and advertisers. 

Ready to take the next step on RMN? Contact us today to learn more. 

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Fast-Track Your QSR to Crystal-Ball Status

The future of the restaurant industry just might be predictive. Do you have the guest insights to deliver?

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Steve Dietch

Apr 19, 2023

min read

To what degree can you anticipate guest preferences before they ever place their order? As the restaurant industry expands its digital marketing capabilities, make sure you’re positioned to stay a step ahead of your guests.

Restaurants going predictive?

At NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show, panelists for the session “Restaurant brands that don’t play by the rules” were asked to make predictions about the industry’s future. Inspire Brands Vice President of Demand Generation Travis Freeman forecasted predictive capabilities as the hallmark of tomorrow’s successful restaurants, or rather, a future in which “Businesses know what the guests want before they do.” 

With the advent of digital technologies, guest expectations for personalized, convenient experiences continue to rise, and restaurants that want to compete need to have mechanisms in place to capture and capitalize on guest preferences, and fast. While we may not have the crystal ball algorithm perfected just yet, how can restaurants fast-track their ways to new levels of guest insight?

First, you need the data

As Freeman explained, restaurants are already putting technologies like real-time analytics to work to be more attuned to customer preferences. Segmentation is an important piece of that puzzle, since the needs and wants of a given demographic can vary widely when it comes to menu items, price sensitivity, channel preferences and more. 

But before you can segment, you need data—and lots of it. This can be a challenge for many restaurant operations, especially those dealing with outdated POS systems. Many struggle to identify, understand and engage the individuals behind in-person transactions. Restaurants have also struggled over data ownership in the past with third-party delivery partners like UberEats.

POS data is the key to unlocking first-party insights

To truly understand what guests want from the restaurant experience, and engage them on those preferences, you need to start building a solid foundation of first-party data. One source of this type of data is a loyalty program. While the QSR space has enjoyed a good bit of success with rewards programs, most can only provide a partial snapshot of guests, since not everyone participates.

Ultimately, it’s critical to look beyond loyalty and start homing in on transaction data. You can identify more guests through an identity resolution solution. By leveraging POS data in a privacy-safe way, you can begin to understand your guests at a more granular level. Furthermore, by expanding and enhancing that first-party data with second and third-party insights, you can also increase the number of attributes with which to segment audiences.

Get ahead of guest preferences with segmentation 

Once you have comprehensive, unified guest profiles, you can begin to base your targeting decisions on attributes like actual purchases, preferred items, frequency, price sensitivity, daypart, and more. Some “predictive” capabilities are already at your disposal. For example, if you’re considering a new menu item, you can create segments who are most likely to order that item based on their history of ordering similar or related items—then target them with personalized messages and offers related to the item.

Don’t forget to confirm the accuracy of your predictions. The same identity resolution solution that helps you identify guests who might like a new item can also help you understand the new item’s impact on the menu—and the overall business.

We helped a QSR client determine that a new menu item attracted new customers, grew average check by 6% and monthly spend by 5%.
Look to the future with Bridg

We may not be able to see into the future (just yet) but new capabilities like offline identity resolution are making it easier to understand and engage guests. The more comprehensive the guest profile, the more you can anticipate wants, needs and preferences (then directly measure the impact of the subsequent campaigns).

We help restaurants unite data from all guest touchpoints to create privacy-safe, comprehensive profiles using POS data, bank transaction data and our proprietary census of offline identity and behavior. Contact us to learn more. 

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Myth #3: Retailers already have the data they need to launch an RMN

Retailers already have the data they need to launch an RMN, right? Wrong. Find out why in Part 3 of our RMN series.

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Steve Dietch

Apr 12, 2023

min read

Retail media networks are enjoying a meteoric rise to prominence, but how do you know if they’re a good investment for your company? In this series, we’ll explore common misconceptions about these networks from both the retailer and brand perspective, providing you with everything you need to know to make informed decisions when it comes to retail media commitments.

Missed the previous blogs in this series? Catch up on Myths 1 and 2 here. 

If you’re a retailer, you know a thing or two about the shoppers propelling your operation. Plus, you have the channels to reach them when they’re already in a buying mindset. Both of these facts make a retail media network (RMN) offering a no-brainer. 

But that doesn’t mean you’re in the free and clear. The degree to which you can take advantage of marketing, media and trade budgets will all depend on the audience targeting capabilities you’re able to offer, which in turn depend on having sufficient audience scale.

What happens with known audience scale?

There are plenty of challenges when it comes to launching a retail media network, like getting the right tech stack in place and managing costs. But data and reporting can quickly become a massive roadblock to your success. The first question you need to ask yourself is whether your first-party audience is large enough. The biggest con to an insufficient audience is that you’re automatically limiting how much brands can spend on your RMN. In other words, you’re leaving money on the table.

The issue also affects your bottom line whether you’re working with small or large brands. Without audience sufficiency, large brands will spend more on third-party data, or will not spend as much. This leads to generic audiences and over-delivered impressions.

Challenges with a small audience for impression delivery

A brand with a $200K budget for a four-week campaign, for example, may only be able to spend $75k to get the right reach and frequency for a positive ROAS. For smaller brands, a lack of first-party data gets in the way of adequately measuring ROI—another key prerequisite for any competitive RMN offering.

Plus, you lose out the same way that brands do. Since retail media advertisements boost spend both for brand in-category and retailer category, you’re also missing out from a sales perspective. To satisfy brand expectations and maximize your return, you need to make sure the audience you’re connecting brand partners to is expansive and comprehensive enough.

What’s missing from your data set?

Yes, you have shopper data. But do you have enough? Usually retailers lack sufficient scale because they aren’t able to identify and understand all of their shoppers. Ask yourself: 

  • What percentage of your shoppers are known? 
  • How many individuals visit and patronize your store that are not captured in your 1P audience? 
  • To what degree of granularity do you currently understand shopper preferences like day-part, price sensitivity, preferred items and frequency?

This is often a challenge in the brick-and-mortar setting if you lack mechanisms to identify and understand the individual behind the transaction. Loyalty data, a popular form of first-party data, also creates gaps in your audience. Not everyone signs up for your loyalty program, nor do those participants represent the average shopper at your store.

Fill in the missing pieces with enhanced first-party data

By expanding and enhancing your 1P audience to shift more unknown shoppers to known ones,  you can build a holistic and complete view of your shoppers. This is where a partner can help you unite and enrich your current data set with identity resolution capabilities, as well as second and third-party data. You can also use identity resolution to associate “missing” loyalty transactions – or those completed by a loyalty shopper who failed to self-identify at checkout – with the right program member. Enriching your data also opens you up to more advanced segmentation capabilities. 

Once you have a strong foundation, you can create more effective media spend that benefits both brand in-category and retailer category. But first, you need to make sure you have the right data partner—one who can help you identify unknown in-store shoppers and expand your understanding of purchase behavior beyond the loyalty audience.

Start enhancing your data with Bridg

Brands gravitate toward RMNs because retailers have the shopper insights they want—and the means to reach them when and where they’re already making purchases. But do retailers actually have these insights? Sort of. We help retailers set the foundation for retail media success by solving the audience sufficiency problem and creating dynamic campaign audiences that draw from over 300 attributes.

We enable a single source of verified shopper truth by identifying unknown shoppers and expanding your understanding of known ones with market-leading offline identity resolution capabilities—all in the name of RMN competitiveness and profitability. Contact us today to learn more. 

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Myth #2: There’s no way to truly know if a retail media investment is paying off

Can you really know if your RMN investment is paying off? Only with the right ecosystem of partners in place. Read Part 2 of our RMN series now.

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Steve Dietch

Apr 5, 2023

min read

Retail media networks are enjoying a meteoric rise to prominence, but how do you know if they’re a good investment for your company? In this series, we’ll explore common misconceptions about these networks from both the retailer and brand perspective, providing you with everything you need to know to make informed decisions when it comes to retail media commitments.

Missed the previous blog in this series? Click here to read. 

So you’re thinking of advertising your brand’s products on a retail media network (RMN). You’ve heard about the superior targeting opportunities and the great sales margins. It all makes sense. But a big question remains: can you actually know for sure whether or not your investment is paying off? 

The short answer: oftentimes, you can’t. That’s why it’s so crucial to have the right ecosystem of partners in place. Let’s discuss. 

Brands are spending …

Retail media networks have a clear appeal, and we know that brands are spending on these networks en masse. According to Forbes, 74% of brands already have dedicated RMN budgets.

And in a survey by Wakefield Research, 64% of CPG brands with advertising budgets of $100M or more plan to increase their RMN spend in 2023. In the United States, a lot of this money (over $200B) even comes from once untouchable trade funds. 

But with big investments come even bigger expectations for ROAS. The pressure is on for retailers to deliver comprehensive reporting and proof of ROI, but not everyone is primed for the challenge. 

… but are they winning?

In theory, the ability to measure ROAS and other metrics is one of the principal sources of value for RMNs. Nearly everyone agrees that measurement matters. In a study by the Association of National Advertisers, 93% of survey respondents indicated that they measured RMN effectiveness—citing a need for “more data, greater transparency, and greater standardization of available data and reporting.”

The devil is in the details. Measurement methodologies can vary widely not only between brand and retailer, but also across different retailers where you might be investing. Additionally, brands and advertisers are often entirely dependent on the retailer to supply these metrics. Can you trust them to deliver transparent results, even if those results would show that the investment is no longer justified? As a result, it’s difficult to get a transparent view of how your RMN investments are performing. 

When it comes to the measurement problem, you need a partner 

Advertisers are looking for three big KPIs in the data and reporting they receive. Survey respondents indicated that they used ROI (58%), ROAS (48%) and incremental sales (56%) to evaluate RMN efforts.

In practice, however, many expressed disappointment with the actual measurement capabilities they were being provided. 47% responded that they were “somewhat or significantly weaker”, 33% responded “somewhat or significantly stronger” and 20% thought they were roughly the same as other options in the marketing mix.

This is where it’s important to have the right partner ecosystem in place. 40% of advertiser respondents indicated they were handling holistic measurement in-house, while 38% sought the expertise of an external agency and 29% consulted a third-party resource. 11% are not handling it at all.

You can’t depend solely on your retail partners to get the full picture of what’s happening across different RMN investments. The right data partner can help you get a clear picture of shopper behavior and performance. Enriched point-of-sale data provides a reliable baseline to evaluate shopper behavior within one network or across multiple retailers. 

Get transparent measurement capabilities with Bridg 

When evaluating your RMN investments, you want to make sure you can quickly test, measure and learn about drivers of return. And for that, you need comprehensive, consumer-level transaction data. For example, to what degree of granularity can you understand how your customers are spending at a certain retailer? Can you compare that behavior across multiple retailers? 

We provide unified, privacy-safe consumer profiles that include SKU-level purchase behavior and over 300 enriching demographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes. Whether you’re increasing your retail media investments or optimizing trade spend, you can base your decisions in POS data.

Reach out to us to learn more.

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What do brands really want from retail media networks—and can you deliver?

When it comes to retail media networks, brands want more—more data, more insights and more measurement. Find out how to exceed their expectations and maximize your return.

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Loren Wilson

Mar 30, 2023

min read

Amazon is upping the ante when it comes to connecting brands to customers. At the 2022 Amazon Accelerate conference in September, the retail giant announced a new offering in beta testing called Tailored Audiences. It’s a tool designed to help Amazon sellers reach more audiences beyond those that follow their page—including loyal, high-spending and new shoppers. Sellers can engage these audiences through email marketing messages, tracking click-through, delivery and opt-out rates, as well as sales and conversions for closed-loop measurement. 

As e-commerce sales wane, Amazon is turning to digital advertising as a new revenue generator. In 2Q22, online retail sales decreased by 4% year over year to $50.86B. By contrast, ad sales were up 18% year over year to $8.76B. Tailored Audiences, set to release early next year, also responds to brands’ expressed desire to boost customer lifetime value.

More brands want the retailer’s insights (and channels)

Amazon’s new strategy, and the seller motivations driving it, offer insight into how retailers can improve brand relationships while also monetizing their customer data through advertising networks. As retailers ride the wave of rapidly shifting consumer spending habits, advertising is proving to be an increasingly viable – and appealing – alternate revenue stream.

According to GroupM, retail media spend represents 18% of global digital advertising and 11% of total advertising and is projected to increase by about 60% and reach $160B by 2027. In the next 1-3 years, competition in retail media will also increase as data decouples from inventory and non-endemic brands, or brands that don’t sell directly through retailers, begin to participate more. These brands are interested in advertising on the retail media network to access new audiences (and hence drive sales).

More data, more insights, more measurement

For non-endemic brands, CPG partners and Amazon sellers, the appeal of the retailer’s advertising channel or network has everything to do with access. Brands are looking to directly reach new customer segments pre-vetted for, or predisposed to, their category and most likely to become loyalty members or repeat customers.

In other words, they want to take advantage of the retailer’s customer data.

Examine your existing customer data sets. To what degree do they represent the entirety of your base? Are you relying too much on loyalty data? If you have brick-and-mortar locations, can you provide the same level of insight on these shoppers as you would with online ones? Can you identify which products sell best, and where? Consider the value of a partner with identity resolution capabilities who can also enrich your existing data with additional insights to increase the number of attributes at your disposal.

But keep in mind, what CPGs really want is to hire you to do the legwork (capturing, contextualizing and activating customer data) and deliver the metrics to prove ROI. You not only need to make sure you have enough scale to satisfy these expectations but also the right analytics and activation mechanisms in place. A closed-loop measurement is extremely important, as it allows brands to justify the continued expenditure in their advertising budgets. According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), to stay competitive against other networks, you need to fulfill brand expectations for a variety of analytical capabilities and metrics, including:

  • Self-service media buying and performance review
  • Attribution modeling
  • Creative engagement 
  • Uplift
  • Channel performance
  • Incremental revenue impact tracking
  • And more

Consider how much more granular your insights need to be as these networks continue to gain in popularity. Can you deliver the specificity that a non-endemic brand is after by helping them reach customers based on their purchases of complementary goods and services? 

Become a strategic partner

Achieving the proper scale with your first-party data and ensuring a depth and breadth of reporting capabilities is critical to deliver value through the retail media network, but it’s not automatically enough to keep brands happy in the long term. Once your CPG partners can see the results of their media investments, they are also looking to their retail partner as a strategic consultant who can help them grow their presence in the network. 

In a recent study by BCG and Google, 20% of respondents identified strategic support as the most important aspect of the RMN collaboration. Many retailers already offer their brand partners real-time reporting, guidance on investments, optimization opportunities and more.

Attract more brand partners with Bridg

We help our customers identify the actual individual behind card transactions and our offline identity resolution solution is the first to unify insights on all customers—loyalty and non-loyalty, known and unknown. Our advanced customer intelligence helps solve any audience insufficiency problems and begin maximizing your return on investment.

Take advantage of SKU-level purchase histories, along with hundreds of demographics, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes to enhance your targeting marketing capabilities and serve up the granular shopper insights brands are looking for. Plus, when your CPG partners have access to our data and audience platform, they can effectively measure incrementality themselves through self-graded measurement. 

With Bridg, you can stop calculating your cost—and start adding up your return. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you become the retail media network everyone wants to join. 

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How to Win Over C-Store Customers with More Than Convenience

Gas stations make most of their margin from c-store items rather than fuel—but simply being there with snacks is no longer enough. Can an enhanced customer experience help them weather the continued storm of inflation?

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Jennifer Ortner

Dec 22, 2022

min read

Gas stations make most of their margin from convenience store items rather than fuel—but simply being there with snacks is no longer enough. Increasingly, C-store customers want more out of their gas station experience. Those that can deliver on those expectations are much better positioned to weather the continued storm of inflation and shifting consumer behaviors.

According to NielsenIQ, consumers have reported plans to cut back on discretionary spending in favor of meeting basic needs and paying for the essentials like utilities and groceries in response to pricing spikes. Part of the shift also includes cutting back on food deliveries and “other indulgences” (aka many of the items you might find at the convenience store). In fact, 34% of respondents indicated spending less on treats like dining out.

As household budgets shrink and spending habits change, differentiation is more important than ever. Here’s how you can amp up your C-store experience—and what it takes to get there.

Stock their favorite brands

According to Intouch Insight Ltd.’s 2022 Convenience Store Trends Report, 70% of shoppers prefer their favorite coffee brand over the more convenient cup of joe. Given the added hesitance shoppers feel toward purchasing “extras” at the moment, capitalizing on longstanding loyalties by stocking customer favorites can be a point of differentiation.

But in order to take advantage of this strategy, you first need to know what those brand favorites are—which means you need robust customer insights to fuel your decision making.

Keep the grab-and-go options flowing

The reviews are in, and customers love the grab-and-go options at their local c-store. Why? First, they’re already getting gas, so these prepped items save them another trip. Second, it’s faster than a drive-thru. According to Cardlytics data, the average wait time at a QSR is around 7 minutes, while C-store waits average 4 minutes. Plus, customers often stop for gas along their route to work, so they don’t have to go out of their way, saving even more time.

Gas stations that include made-to-order menu items show higher walk-in rates than those with more standard snack items. But the popularity of these items also opens a window for C-stores to continue gaining market share from grocery stores and restaurants. C-store share against the QSR category has increased 18.42% to 21.39% since 2019, and by refining and/or expanding grab-and-go options, convenience stores can continue the upward trend.

Do you have the tracking capabilities to identify which items are the most popular with which customer segments, or the items that customers would most want to see added?

Expand your operating model to include delivery

Preferred brands and grab-and-go items are pulling more customers into the store, but what could just as easily dissuade them? High prices and a lack of alternative shopping methods.

Many C-stores are already taking note: last year saw a 47% increase in “last-mile services” like curbside, delivery and mobile ordering. Mobile ordering in particular is a key strategy, with 1.1% of customers turning to their phones to order at convenience, QSR or FSR retailers, up from .5% in 1Q19.

Do you have insight into your customers’ price sensitivity and how they would most like to order and receive their purchases?

Lead with loyalty

Loyalty programs are also winning with c-store customers. According to the Convenience Store Trends Report, 94% of survey respondents were part of at least one, and 76% would choose a brand with a loyalty program over one without.

One challenge with these programs, however, is that employees aren’t promoting them sufficiently, causing c-store programs to lag behind grocery, restaurants and fast food in terms of popularity. Only 28% of cashiers mentioned their c-store’s loyalty program, while some locations lacked signable and promotional materials.

You can’t rely on your teams to make your loyalty program a success. Instead, you need a full-court digital strategy to get the message out beyond the four walls of your store. Do you have the ability to identify best-fit candidates for your program and deliver personalized messages and offers via digital channels to encourage signups?  
Get your data together & solve the “unknown” problem

Despite the strain of macroeconomic forces, C-stores still have plenty of opportunities to win and keep customers—but all of them require robust customer data. Before you can enact any of these strategies, you need a reliable set of customer insights to make the best product recommendations and personalized offers and messages possible.

But many brick-and-mortar retailers, like C-stores, have had a long-standing issue: they can’t identify who’s coming into their stores or what they’re buying. Instead, they’re left with unknown customers, unknown purchase behaviors—and no way to target these individuals.

However, nearly all the purchases at your C-store happen via debit or credit card. With the abbreviated card information stored with every transaction, we can help you build unified, privacy-safe customer profiles with SKU-level purchase history, as well as  hundreds of enriching demographics, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes. We can also help you drive personalized offers based on actual purchases, preferred items, frequency, price sensitivity, promotional history, daypart and channel preferences via virtually any digital channel.

Ready to win over more c-store customers? Contact us today to learn more.

rsonalized messages and offers via digital channels to encourage signups?  

Get your data together & solve the “unknown” problem

Despite the strain of macroeconomic forces, C-stores still have plenty of opportunities to win and keep customers—but all of them require robust customer data. Before you can enact any of these strategies, you need a reliable set of customer insights to make the best product recommendations and personalized offers and messages possible.

But many brick-and-mortar retailers, like C-stores, have had a long-standing issue: they can’t identify who’s coming into their stores or what they’re buying. Instead, they’re left with unknown customers, unknown purchase behaviors—and no way to target these individuals.

However, nearly all the purchases at your C-store happen via debit or credit card. With the abbreviated card information stored with every transaction, we can help you build unified, privacy-safe customer profiles with SKU-level purchase history, as well as  hundreds of enriching demographics, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes. We can also help you drive personalized offers based on actual purchases, preferred items, frequency, price sensitivity, promotional history, daypart and channel preferences via virtually any digital channel.

Ready to win over more c-store customers? Contact us today to learn more.

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Four Ways for Grocery Stores to Combat Inflation with Convenience

While quick delivery may not stand the test of time, its underlying motivator – convenience – is still king. As high prices rage on, what other forms of convenience can grocers bring to the table to stay competitive? 

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Jennifer Ortner

Feb 6, 2023

min read

You’ve heard of two-day shipping becoming standard across retail, but in the world of grocery, it’s more like 15 minutes. Why? During the height of the pandemic, delivery startups like Gorillas and Instacart upped the ante by promising lightning-fast 15-minute delivery windows for groceries. And while it’s hard to argue with the value that quick delivery times add to the customer experience, in the long term, the “blink and it’s there” strategy is not proving viable.

Grocers eager to reclaim Instacart business and the shopper data that comes with it cannot compete with a 15-minute delivery standard, but startups also can’t sustain it. According to Grocery Dive, Gorillas, for example, laid off 300 corporate employees in May, while Gopuff let go 3% of its global workforce at the end of March. At Groceryshop 2022, an Instacart representative acknowledged that the 15-minute model had become less viable due to inflation and the corresponding demand for lower prices. 

While quick delivery may not stand the test of time, its underlying motivator – convenience – is still king when it comes to perfecting the customer experience, nurturing loyalty and attracting new business. As high prices rage on, what other forms of convenience can grocers bring to the table to stay competitive? 

Serve up relevant products to shoppers

Personalization continues to reign supreme across the retail industry. Giant Food’s e-commerce program, Giant Flexible Rewards, for example, turned to personalized pricing, product recommendations and rewards to customers that tied directly to the in-store experience. By creating customer-specific offers based on order frequency, average basket size, purchase history, and more, you can get a running start on the competition, particularly as attitudes toward brand affinity continue to shift

You can also leverage personalization to get ahead of supply chain disruptions that inconvenience customers. Transactional data can help you pinpoint the biggest fans of individual products. Then, if you know a shortage is on the horizon, you can alert those shoppers ahead of time and divert them to alternatives, saving them the headache and hassle of a surprise stockout.

Meet shoppers on their terms

Thanks to the influence of streaming apps, ride-sharing apps and social media platforms, consumers now expect on-demand service, which in the grocery context translates to easy access to food. Mobile ordering, frictionless checkout, omnichannel offers and efficiently designed store layouts can all help grocers deliver on this expectation. 

Technology is also evolving how grocers engage customers within the store. A La Cross Hy-Vee location, for example, features all-digital shelf labels displaying product information and pricing. They also advertise products, services and promotions on over 100 TVs around the store. Customers can even use digital kiosks to place prepared food orders and access the company’s financial service offerings.

Meet more than one need

Convenience doesn’t just mean connecting customers to products faster. It can also mean providing services and products outside your immediate category. This saves customers an extra trip while helping you compete for market share against other types of competitors.

Sprouts Farmers Market, for instance, recently announced plans to open an in-store coffee bar in partnership with Phoenix-based, small-batch coffee roaster Press Coffee. This store will serve as a test run before opening up 30 new locations next year. The strategy formed in response to an insight on the popularity of grab-and-go items after a $4.99 deli sandwich ignited a viral video campaign that garnered over 10 million views. Sprouts now intends to offer more prepared foods and grab-and-go options that will help the chain compete with restaurant offerings. 

De-stressing & dressing up the grocery experience

Ease can take many forms. How can you make the shopping experience less stressful and more enjoyable for customers, especially given the tough economic realities many are facing? Can a trip to the grocery store become a personally and socially enriching event? 

Grocers like Hy-Vee, Whole Foods and Sendik’s are opening stores with a greater focus on transparency, education and community building. Hy-vee, for its part, has launched a food hall complete with fast-casual dining options, a sit-down bar with 32 taps, an outdoor patio and multiple restaurants. At Whole Foods, customers can look forward to educational, experiential elements like a meat-cutting room for observing butchers and certified cheese experts providing guided cheese pairings. 

Before convenience can happen, you need data

Whether you’re structuring an offer, planning partnerships or launching new programs, none of these forms of convenience will resonate unless they’re rooted in a solid foundation of comprehensive customer insights—and for that, you need enriched first-party (1P) data.

Are you positioned to gather data from all your customer touchpoints, including in-store purchases? Pay close attention to potential gaps in your pool of insights, particularly outside your digital channels. Do you have mechanisms in place to identify and understand in-store customers and their preferences? 

You need to make sure you have a clear picture of ALL your customers, from in-store to online and loyalty to non-loyalty. Otherwise, you’re basing your decisions on only a fraction of your new and existing customer pool.
Start today with Bridg 

Our data and audience platform was built to help brick-and-mortar grocers solve the anonymous or unknown in-store challenge. We can help you form unified, privacy-safe profiles of unknown, known, loyalty and non-loyalty customers with access to SKU-level purchase histories and hundreds of attributes for analysis. With a reliable source of customer intelligence and unique insights, you’re positioned to make the best decisions on how to deliver added convenience to the customer experience. 

Ready to start reimagining convenience? Contact us to learn more.

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How grocers can leverage analytics to boost the shopping experience and fight the negative impacts of inflation

The competition for consumer dollars is intense, but with a well-stocked arsenal of tools, grocers can leverage their digital channels to win and retain customers.

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Steve Dietch

Oct 5, 2022

min read

Between supply chain disruptions, staffing shortages and historical levels of inflation, grocers are up against quite a few challenges this year. According to Bloomberg, the “food at home” inflation rate has risen 12.2% since last year—compared to an overall 9.1% increase in consumer prices. And as consumers look to tighten their budgets, groceries are on the chopping block.

In a survey conducted by Cowen, 47% of respondents are cutting or plan to cut their spending, with groceries as a targeted area for budget cuts after social events/dining out and travel/transportation. But amid the doom and gloom, there’s also hope: consumers still enjoy ordering groceries online. According to McKinsey, ecommerce sales have grown 60% since the onset of the pandemic, and the “food at home” market has also surged 8.7% (four times the historical growth rate).

The competition for consumer dollars is intense, but with a well-stocked arsenal of tools to meet consumer expectations, grocers can leverage their digital channels — and the insights that come with them – to win and retain customers.

Perfect & accelerate the delivery experience

Online ordering presents a positive growth opportunity. Grocers, however, are not without competition in terms of the “food at home” category. Popular meal delivery services like HelloFresh, as well as food delivery apps like DoorDash and UberEats, all compete in this space as well.

In order for grocers to win and retain market share, digital ordering tools must be flawless—along with the rest of the customer experience. Expectations for delivery times have intensified, with the standard hovering at 30 minutes, even in suburban areas. Heavyweights like Kroger have taken the additional step of adding ghost kitchens at select locations to create competitive prepared food delivery options.

Seize the data

Given the competitive market, it’s crucial for modern grocery marketers to leverage data from their digital channels to create personalized shopping experiences. Since shoppers are turning more to online ordering and delivery, marketers have the opportunity to leverage insights from this data. Tools like a customer data platform (CDP) can help streamline the process of unifying data from a variety of sources.

Timely shopper insights can help you understand shoppers at a more granular level. Can you leverage in-store and ecommerce insights to understand customer buying preferences and habits? Using this data can also help you combat out-of-stocks by improving item substitutions for online orders.
Close the silo

Digital channels create rich customer data, but collecting and unifying it data isn’t enough, and unfortunately, many grocery marketing teams still keep data siloed from analytics. By taking data and transforming it into actionable insights, you can create a more reliable basis for decision-making and personalization.

These analytics don’t just inform personalized experiences. They can also inform operational improvements, like:

  • Inventory management
  • Merchandising
  • Forecasting accuracy
  • Collaboration with suppliers

Also, remember that customer insights have enormous value even beyond your own targeting efforts, because these insights form the foundation for retail media networks. Brands will pay a premium to advertise on these networks in order to access customer insights and and monetizemaximize their investment based on customer insights, creating a whole new revenue stream for your business.

Identify customers, unit data & start personalizing with Bridg

To better compete in the “food at home” category as inflation rises, keep pace with consumer expectations and mitigate supply chain issues (to the extent possible), grocery marketers need to be able to both unite data from disparate sources and properly segment that data into actionable, unified customer profiles.

We can help you ingest offline (POS transaction data) and online data sources (loyalty/rewards, ecommerce, mobile, email) and identify the (un)known customers behind the debit/credit card.

Then, we can also help you create unified, privacy-safe, longitudinal customer profiles with SKU-level purchase behavior and over 300+ enriching demographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you transform your data into actionable analytics to win the “food at home” category.

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Leveraging actionable insights for retail media networks

Retail media networks are a huge opportunity for retailers and brands alike, but only with the right customer insights, at scale.

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Steve Dietch

Sep 27, 2022

min read

Retail shopping behaviors are full of contradictions at the moment, and winning over the modern consumer is a complex task. Ecommerce, for example, continues to rise in popularity, but the majority (~53%) of consumers still shop in physical stores. Loyalty is in flux—yet the right offer from a preferred brand wins out over a lower price from a non-preferred one.

Understanding these nuances on a granular level and leveraging them on an omnichannel scale is paramount to retail success. That means brands need shopper data—and they need it fast. According to Trade Desk, the number of marketers who intend to use sales data very frequently is expected to nearly triple in the next year.

Retailers have a huge opportunity to help brands leverage that coveted shopper data through their retail media networks. These networks connect brands with the shopper insights and direct channels they need to find and retain customers. Seventy-four percent of brands have dedicated budgets for retail media networks, and according to McKinsey, retail media network growth could represent as much as $100 billion in ad spending by 2026. The operating margins for this form of advertising are also a thing of beauty, falling in the 50-70% range for successful networks, and this is mostly driven by onsite media.

But in order to deliver on the promise of the network – and reap the subsequent ROI – retailers need not only a heap of data but established mechanisms for turning that data into actionable insights.

Brands are paying for direct connections, not impressions

For brands, the goal of any retail media network is to harness rich data sets to better connect with consumers through relevant advertising. Sufficient data scale is critical to deliver on the ROAS that brands expect from their investments in these networks. Data in and of itself, however, doesn’t deliver the value brands are after.

Retailer first-party shopper data is appealing to brands because it promises a direct connection with the consumer – not a bunch of raw material they have to figure out what to do with. The increased expectations reflect a broader evolution within the world of media buys. Before, brands paid for impressions with the hope of a purchase. In the world of commerce media, brands expect to be able to close the transaction-level loop. For brands, success hinges on the right media buying strategy, measurement tools and real-time campaign optimization.

Gather data & create insights

So what does it take to create actionable insights of tangible value for brands? It’s all about distilling multiple touchpoints – like POS, website, customer service, billing, brick-and-mortar stores and more – to a singular view of a consumer. If you’re lacking in raw material, consider leveraging proprietary channels like email to capture more first-party data. This is also an excellent avenue for engaging audiences with specific interests, shopping habits or customer profiles, especially for smaller retailers.

Data platforms are a good starting point for synthesizing all the sources and creating unified customer profiles. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that not all customer data platforms are created equal. If your CDP isn’t helping you translate raw data into insights on your customers and their purchase behaviors at a regular cadence, you’re probably not getting the right ROI.

Finally, consider enhancing your first-party holdings with second and third-party data, as well as  identity resolution capabilities, to create the maximum number of attributes and ensure precise targeting.

The more insights, the more revenue-generating opportunities

When it comes to shopper insights, the more attributes you have at your disposal, the more personalized advertising strategies are available to you. Consider, for example:

  • Cross-selling campaigns – Using SKU-level purchase histories, can you find opportunities to promote complementary products to select segments of your audience?
  • Re-engagement campaigns – If you know the frequency or cadence of a certain purchase, you can identify lapsed customers and incentivize them to re-engage.
  • Seasonal campaigns – Certain products have seasonal relevance to any consumer, but others are seasonal to specific segments – like baby items to new parents, for example.
  • Other forms of personalization – Birthday offers. Membership anniversaries. It’s all about the special touches.

The more granular the insight, the more opportunities emerge to layer information and create relevant, timely offers to new and existing customers. We help our customers, for example, leverage over 300+ enriching demographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes to drive personalized offers based on actual purchases, preferred items, frequency, price sensitivity, promotional history, daypart, and channel preferences via virtually any digital channel.

Start today with POS data

We can help you build unified, privacy-safe profiles of loyalty and non-loyalty customers with SKU-level purchase history and hundreds of enriching demographics, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes that power analytics and targeted marketing. We do it by combining your Point of Sales (POS) data with bank transaction data, and our proprietary census of offline identity and behavior to identify the actual individual behind a credit/debit card transaction. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you activate, expand and/or refine targeting and personalization for your retail media network.

Want to learn more about the current state of retail media networks, emerging challenges and how to bridge the gap on unknown shoppers? Check out our webinar with Progressive Grocer, “How Retailers and CPG Brands Can Win at Retail Media,” by clicking here.

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Can restaurant marketers serve up the data they need to combat inflation?

Now more than ever, it’s critical for restaurant marketers to understand their audience, drive traffic and sales with personalized messages, and measure the efficacy of offers.

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Steve Dietch

Sep 21, 2022

min read

Restaurants are facing their fair share of challenges this year, from talent shortages to astronomical costs, supply chain disruptions and razor-thin margins. According to Restaurant Dive, over 66% of independent restaurants have seen a decrease in sales due to inflation. To combat the downturn, restaurants are testing a number of strategies, including more discounts and promotions, reduced operating hours, reduced staff and removal of lower-margin menu items.

Now more than ever, it’s critical for restaurant marketers to understand their audience, drive traffic and sales with personalized messages, and measure the efficacy of offers.

Loyalty programs serve as part of this strategy. McDonald’s, for example, announced they’ve acquired nearly 26M loyalty members this year, helping to drive more visits and incremental sales for the chain.

In the race to profitability, marketers must approach new solutions and strategies with added scrutiny—and make sure they have the data they need to connect with customers now and into the future.

New third-party solutions to the rescue?

Third-party vendors are looking to cash in on the challenging environment for restaurants. DoorDash, for instance, recently announced the revamped DoorDash Merchant Suite. Billed as a self-serve platform with solutions for small and medium-sized restaurant partners, it affords restaurants:

  • The ability to offer promotions like 20% off your first order and free delivery (to attract new customers & increase order volume)
  • Access to more of the population (DoorDash reaches 94% of the U.S. population)
  • Easy access to capital without a loan application process and hidden charges using DoorDash Capital

The platform aims to help restaurants increase business and compete in the face of rising costs and supply chain shortages. From a marketing perspective, however, third-party partnerships can present a significant challenge: the fight over data. DoorDash, for example, sued the State of New York last year, contesting their new law requiring delivery apps to share customer information, like names, addresses and email handles, with retailers.

In the case of Merchant Suite, the platform promises customer insights like zip codes for delivery, popular items and sales analytics. But in terms of customer information, you will be limited to reviews, star ratings and whether a customer is new or returning.

The takeaway: Make sure you’re in a position to collect and leverage the customer insights you need to meet your marketing goals when considering outside partnerships.
Loyalty: the old standby hitting new markets

A more direct way to ensure you’re getting all the information you need is through a loyalty program. These are especially popular in the QSR space, with Starbucks Rewards serving as the gold standard. Now, less traditional players are joining in on the trend.

Wow Bao, a virtual brand, and Paytronix recently announced Bao Bucks, a loyalty program that allows customers to earn points on online orders. As many as 41% of independent restaurants are operating virtual brands. The idea of the virtual brand is to grow digital sales and diner reach without having to invest in a brick-and-mortar expansion. Within that strategy, the loyalty program creates access to customer data that can be used to tailor products and promotions.

The takeaway: When you launch a loyalty program, you may gain the type of information you need to improve personalization and targeting—but not necessarily at the right scale. Keep in mind that these programs only represent a portion of your overall audience. In fact, just a 15% penetration rate is considered successful.
What if you already have the data you need?

New third-party partnerships promise strategies for attracting and retaining customers, but may not be an unlimited source of customer insight. And even if you get the insights you need, you’ve only covered the portion of customers who choose third-party ordering or delivery to begin with. Loyalty programs present a similar limitation in that they can only provide a partial view of customers and their purchasing behavior.

The solution may be simpler than you think. What if restaurants already have the data they need to better understand their customers, even those without an e-commerce component?

It may seem unlikely, given that many restaurants have only outdated POS systems and siloed data at their disposal (with added restrictions for franchisees in many cases). Technologically speaking, the industry lags behind retail, but despite these limitations, nearly all restaurants have a key capability: they can process card transactions. And with that capability comes data that, when leveraged properly, can unlock a wealth of insights on all customers.

By enhancing POS data with bank transaction data and proprietary census of offline identity and behavior, you can begin to identify individuals behind card transactions–as well as actual purchases, seasonality, daypart, channel preferences, and more. This information delivers both the scale and specificity you need to understand what’s working and what’s not.

We recently helped a client identify which daily special promotions were most effective by tracking YoY spend and frequency, as well as highest repeat rates for new customers. As a result, the client knew which days of the week and times of day to place daily offers for maximum results.

Position POS data for privacy-safe targeting

We help our clients build unified, privacy-safe profiles of loyalty and non-loyalty customers with SKU-level purchase history and hundreds of enriching demographics, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes that power analytics, targeted marketing and closed-loop measurement.

To learn more about the first data and audience platform that enables the identification, understanding and engagement of all customers (loyalty and non-loyalty, offline and online), contact us today.

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What is the single source of truth about your customer? Leverage the right insights and get the full picture of your offline customers.

Explore how offline identity resolution can create a more reliable foundation for targeting and personalization efforts.

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Bianca Guidry

Sep 14, 2022

min read

Identity resolution is becoming an even more important tool in your marketing arsenal as privacy concerns increase and targeting mechanisms disappear. While customer data platforms (CDPs) promise to unite the data you need to better understand your customers, they are not always a reliable reference point. Let’s discuss how you can correct for the common shortcomings of both identity resolution and CDPs to create a single source of truth—and get the full story of all your customers.

But first, what exactly is identity resolution?

Identity resolution describes the process by which a business creates a single, unified customer profile by attributing all customer behavior and interactions with the business, across all touchpoints, platforms or channels. In a nutshell, it helps you recover value from all the data points generated from anonymous or unknown visitors, which can account for upwards of 98% of all web visitors.

Third-party cookies will be phased out eventually…

As technology providers like Google and Meta continue to phase out the third-party cookie, identity resolution – and the CDPs that help orchestrate it – are of heightened interest. Companies are becoming even more dependent on their first-party data to derive insights, segment audiences and activate targeted, personalized offerings.

Additionally, new privacy regulations like the CCPA allow consumers to request access to all data an organization has about them, making match accuracy in identity resolution even more critical. Brands will similarly have to strike a balance between delivering personalization and not alienating consumers through invasive targeting methods as they build out marketing strategies for new platforms like the metaverse.

… but technical challenges still persist

While the concept may sound simple, identity resolution increasingly presents an enormously complex technical challenge. Why? Because the number of potential touchpoints from which you have to gather data is exploding.

According to Park Associates, internet households now own an average of 16 connected devices in 2022. In 2021, the number was 13. But the complexity doesn’t end there. According to Google, 90% of web users move between devices to complete a task. You might start considering a purchase on your phone, then check it out further on your desktop. You might even then make the purchase in-store, creating three separate touchpoints for one purchase.

What about unknown customers?

While CDPs help simplify the challenge of collecting so much disparate data, you may not be gaining as clear a picture of your customer base as you think. While many CDPs leverage omnichannel data and help match individual identifiers to associate customers with their interactions across touchpoints, a significant shortcoming plagues these platforms. Oftentimes the CDP can only match identifiers for known targets, or rather, those customers who have provided some level of PII.

Unfortunately, many brick-and-mortar retailers lack mechanisms to identify their customers. As a result, they don’t know who’s visiting their stores, don’t have insight into their purchasing behavior and can’t target these individuals. So none of this information makes its way into the CDP, in turn making the resulting customer profiles unreliable.

Loyalty data offers one workaround in this scenario. Many retailers create loyalty programs for the express purpose of gathering valuable customer data, since customers volunteer information to join. The retailer can also track their purchases if they use their loyalty ID at checkout.

The problem is, loyalty data can be deceiving. Retailers will likely see an uptick in signups when they launch promotional offers and count that surge as evidence of traction. In reality, however, most of these customers stop identifying themselves once they’ve received the offer. On the whole, these programs generally reach 5-15% penetration, so the vast majority of customers remain unknown, not understood and unreachable.

Solve the unknown problem with a single source of truth

Offline identity resolution helps solve the unknown customer problem for brick-and-mortar retailers and create a single source of truth for customer information. Multiple sources of data – including POS, mobile, email, SMS and more – should come together with market-leading offline identity resolution, card data and consumer attributes to create one unified, privacy-safe profile of your customers.

While it’s easy enough to identify the myriad of digital touchpoints that should contribute to customer profiles, even retailers with strong ecommerce capabilities should not discount the importance of offline touchpoints. Consider our example from above: you start researching a product on your phone, then on your desktop, but make the actual purchase in-store. Without offline identity resolution, a crucial data point – your actual purchasing behavior – is missing. Additionally, postal addresses are an important identification tool to link identities in your database, which improves the quality of your data, in turn bolstering the reliability of the insights you draw from your CDP.

Offline Identity Resolution that incorporates point of sale (POS) data combined with bank transaction data, and proprietary, self-built census of offline identity and behavior enables identification of individuals behind in-store transactions. This creates a more complete customer profile than using digital touchpoints alone.

Start today with Bridg

Bridg is the first data and audience solution for brick-and-mortar businesses that enables the identification, understanding and engagement of all customers (loyalty, non-loyalty). We can help you identify offline customers and build rich privacy-safe profiles that are targetable across virtually any digital channel with transparent closed loop measurement.

We enable brick-and-mortar businesses to go beyond the constraints of the known customer universe (e.g; loyalty, online ordering) and utilize purchase intelligence and behavioral insight across ALL customers to drive strategic and tactical actions in support of customer engagement and top line growth.

To learn more about how we fuel the “art of the possible,” check out our white paper here and our case studies here.

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Four strategic ways to drive revenue with enhanced first-party data

Find out how enhanced first-party data can help you shed third-party dependency—and what steps you can take to future-proof your MarTech stack and prove incrementality today.

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Loren Wilson

May 5, 2022

min read

Changes are afoot in the marketing and advertising world as a key lifeforce fades into extinction: the third-party cookie. Faced with the dilemma of how to continue delivering personalized customer engagements without it, 41% of marketers believe their biggest challenge will be their inability to track the right data (Hubspot).

But what if you already had the key insights you needed to understand your customers and drive revenue from your marketing spend? Let’s explore how enhanced first-party data can help you shed third-party dependency—and what steps you can take to future-proof your MarTech stack and prove incrementality today.

#1: Embrace the cookieless future

Cookies have been a best friend to businesses large and small for years, allowing brands to track web traffic, improve UX and collect data for targeted advertising. But now, thanks to shifting policies and growing concerns for consumer privacy, that’s all changing.

What’s happening, exactly? First, Google plans to phase out the third-party cookie from Chrome browsers and replace it with Topics API. Topics API assigns users a set of topics that represent their weekly interests based on browser history. Sites and advertisers receive three topics that represent their visitors’ interests. Apple, for its part, also now requires apps running on its devices to get consumer permission before tracking their activity. And new consumer data privacy laws continue to take shape across the country with data privacy proposals under review in Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

What does it mean for brick-and-mortar retail and restaurant marketers? The shift away from third-party cookies represents a major shakeup to targeting strategies, since Chrome comprises nearly 60% of the web browser market, and more than half of all global web traffic (Statista). As new changes take hold, marketers need to prepare their tech stack and corresponding targeting strategies for a privacy-first future.

In a nutshell, consumers will choose whether or not to give you information, and you need to be prepared to capture and enhance that information to create a basis for targeting.

#2: Use first-party data to understand your customers

The easiest way to future-proof your marketing strategy in the face of changing privacy policies is to focus on shoring up first-party data, or information collected directly from your customers. The cookieless future is full of first-party data, but where do you actually get it? There are a number of sources within a retailer’s reach, including, but not limited to:

  • Behaviors or actions taken across your website, app, and/or product (via the first-party cookie)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
  • Social media profiles
  • Subscription-based emails
  • Surveys
  • Customer feedback

Keep in mind that not everyone will opt-in, making these measures inconclusive when it comes to creating a full picture of your customer base. However, don’t forget about point-of-sale (POS) data. Since most consumers pay with cards (credit/debit), you automatically capture abbreviated card data from anyone who makes a purchase in your store. By layering this information with anonymized offline identity and behavioral insights, you can create a privacy-safe, 360-degree view of all your in-store customers.

The right data platform can help you leverage this data in a privacy-safe way to gain insight into unknown consumers with access to item-level purchase history, demographics, socioeconomic, special interests, and predictive attributes in support of strategic and tactical decision making. But keep in mind: your insights need unifying: pull it all together to create a single, longitudinal consumer profile.

#3: Leverage your data & audiences—and reach out at the right time

Once you’ve enhanced your first-party data to create a deeper understanding of customers, it’s time to activate those insights and start engaging. Now that you know the “who,” you need to perfect the “where” and “when.”

Targeting your audience takes the right combination of data management platform (DMP) and demand side platform (DSP) capabilities. First, you need to clearly track and understand the user’s cross-device journey, particularly given the prevalence of omni-channel convenience. Next, you can buy advertising based on that information and reach your targets at the right time.

#4: Align your marketing goals & spend

The campaign is live. Is this the finish line—or the start of the race? It’s a trick question! Make sure you have the right measurement tools in place to “close the loop” on performance and incremental sales lift. Armed with the right analytics, you can make sure your marketing goals align to your spend to drive towards your business goals.

Here’s where the beauty of enhanced first-party data comes in: you’re already working from directly-measured, comprehensive insights to gain a deeper knowledge of customers, positioning you to make better-informed decisions across the funnel that drive economic outcomes.

Bridge the gap with Bridg

We work with brick-and-mortar retailers to help them solve the “anonymous consumer” challenge, identify the real person behind the in-store transaction and gain insight into SKU-level purchase history, demographics and more, all while protecting consumer privacy. These unique insights can help you drive targeted and personalized marketing communications across 200+ integrated advertising platforms for enhanced media efficiency and top line growth.

Ready to tackle the unknown by enhancing your first-party data? Let’s connect today.

Can retailers really deliver on the promise of retail media networks?

As interest in retail media networks skyrockets, both the opportunity and the pressure intensify for retailers who need more first-party data. Those who can expand their first-party audience will be positioned to attract brand partners and keep growing the network.

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Jennifer Ortner

Aug 22, 2022

min read

Here’s the understatement of the year: retail media networks are getting big—and fast. As U.S. digital retail climbs to a projected $50B by 2023, both retailers and CPG brands are clamoring to cash in on the booming trend (eMarketer). But can retailers deliver on the data scale and nuanced analytics they need to pull it off? Let’s explore what’s at stake on both sides—and how retailers can future-proof their tech stack to deliver on ROAS and keep the network expanding.

Benefits galore

In many ways, retail media networks represent the ultimate win-win for both parties. 

Retailers who build or partner to create these channels open a new revenue stream while tapping into new brand budgets previously unavailable to them like media, search and social spend.

By advertising products on these networks, retailers also expose consumers to more “shelf” items that often go unseen in the e-commerce experience. And when brands succeed, so do retailers–with increased trips, loyalty, basket size and overall category spending. 

Brands, for their part, get direct access to verified shoppers when they are ready to buy, driving stronger awareness and sales for their brand.

In addition to increased ROAS and omni-channel sales, they can also achieve greater SKU visibility, strengthen their retailer relationships and gain a better understanding of the shopper at the retailer. 

First-party data wins the day 

At the top of the list for CPG brands interested in retail media networks is the opportunity to gain access to a retailer’s first-party data.  Changing privacy laws and the sunsetting of third-party cookies have magnified the value of first-party data for brands as they look for ways to future-proof their digital advertising strategy.

Most have used cookies to create, track and reach consumers with personalized marketing across sites. Personalized marketing has driven huge efficiency gains for advertisers, and retailer first-party shopper data offers CPGs a route back to a direct, measurable connection with the consumer in the impending post-cookie era.

Retailers are watching the challenges stack

Despite all the opportunity, many retailers face serious challenges in establishing the network and delivering the needed insights to prove ROAS for brand partners. Top obstacles include:

  • Expense and complexity of building the tech stack
  • Capacity to sell, plan and measure programs 
  • Metrics and methodologies that differ from those of the brand partner or across retailers 
  • Low onsite traffic
  • Differentiation from other retail media network competition or other digital publishers 

Retailers are taking steps to address these challenges, namely through third-party partnerships and expanded in-house teams who can handle the tech stack and capacity challenges of building and maintaining the network. 

One challenge that has gone largely unaddressed, however, is that most retailers lack the scale, tools and data to compete with established advertising networks like Google and Facebook. In fact, many do not even realize they have a data scale problem until they’re live and running campaigns. That’s a big problem, since scale is often the biggest driver of ROAS—and CPG brands are already paying a premium at that point to advertise on the retailer’s media network. As retailers look to grow their retail media networks, a lack of data scale only stands to further impede their success.

The scale problem

In this sense, the biggest draw of the retail media network for CPGs is also the biggest challenge for many retail media networks. Many retailers simply don’t know who their customers are and rely on insufficient loyalty data to enhance their first-party data. As a result, those retailers are struggling to deliver the needed scale of first-party data to attract brand partners and make full use of their budgets.  And when first-party data isn’t sufficient, media spend shifts to third-party data, which means that to deliver adequate ROAS, impressions are over-delivered to a generic audience or spread over a longer period. 

In many cases, this means retailers are leaving money on the table. A large brand with $8M in planned annual investment, for example, may only be able to spend $5M of that commitment for a positive ROAS, as they cannot get as precise as needed with audience targeting. In addition, a limited 1P audience could make campaign measurement unfeasible for smaller brands with lower household penetration (HHP) or longer purchase cycles.
Identity resolution is the way forward

In order to remain competitive, it’s critical for retailers to optimize and expand their first-party audience. At the foundation of any retail media network, retailers need to be able to identify, understand and engage unknown store customers and provide a full 360 view including both online and offline sales at the individual level. 

Identity resolution greatly increases the scale and value of first-party data, unlocking greater spend from CPGs. For example, we worked with a Fortune 100 CPG retailer to identify unknown customers and better understand the shopping behaviors of a greater percentage of in-store customers. Now, they can reach 90% of their active customers through paid media.They’ve also been able to grow their media network by 17.5% and increase net sales during Q1 2022.

It’s important to note that most identity resolution solutions that are being leveraged by retailers today are not created equal.

Most of them are based on simple name and zip code/address matching or trade area appends, which happen to have very poor match-rates with numerous opportunities for error––and an inability to resolve identities to a single person.

You need to go beyond these simplistic approaches to ensure that only a single individual is tied to a transaction record and have a data platform in your tech stack that will allow you to do so with precision and accuracy, not extrapolation and guessing, and at scale. 

Identify unknown store customers with Bridg

As interest in retail media networks skyrockets, both the opportunity and the pressure intensify for retailers who need more first-party data. Those who can expand their first-party audience will be positioned to attract brand partners and keep growing the network.

We help retailers identify millions of unknown in-store customers, provide enhanced customer behavior insights along with SKU-level purchase history––all in a 100% privacy-compliant way. As a result, you can enjoy the same rich insight into consumer behavior, targeting capabilities and closed loop measurement that online-only retailers possess – which means you have the foundation you need to position your retail media network for the greatest competitive advantage.

Ready to expand your first-party audience and watch your media network thrive? Let’s connect today.

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Why you need to take identity resolution offline this year

Cookie deprecation sees yet another delay buying precious time for consumer-facing businesses of all shapes and sizes who continue to prepare for the cookie’s eventual demise and its impact on previous targeting and personalization strategies.

Can advertisers overcome the RMN measurement challenges? Exploring the Rippl effect

Despite their massive popularity, retail media networks have been plagued from the start with measurement shortcomings, most notably the disparity among methods across retailers. Read our blog to see how advertisers can overcome these challenges and prove ROAS.

Unlocking regional retailer and advertiser collaboration with Rippl data media and network, powered by Bridg

Rippl data and media network, powered by Bridg, is unlocking advertiser and regional retailer collaboration, with the potential to create new revenue opportunities for retailers and enhanced consumer engagement for advertisers. Learn more about this exciting new opportunity.

The triumph of the in-store sign (& how to get it right)

Digital signage and interactive kiosks are the latest frontier of retail media network advertising. But before any of the signage magic can happen, retailers must shore up their first-party data insights to implement these technologies strategically and effectively within the physical store. 

Sweeten the deal this summer with ice cream at the C-store

Ice cream was the big winner at the C-store during Summer 2022. Will this year be a repeat? With budgets tightening due to inflation, make sure you're positioned to serve up a strategy that responds to your local market.

Myth #6: If you have a loyalty program, you have the data you need for a RMN

Is loyalty data a sufficient basis for RMNs? In a word, no. Learn more in Part 6 of our RMN series.

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Unlock a never-before-seen customer segment with Bridg’s enterprise customer data platform and experience the new marketing and revenue opportunities it brings.

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