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.
If you’re in the planning stages of launching a retail media network, a big question might be looming: is it even worth it? A few major players dominate the space with an enviable trove of shopper insights to power their targeting strategies. But just because major retailers hold a distinct advantage doesn’t mean your brick-and-mortar operation should throw out the network with the bath water.
Major retail media players leave little market share to spare
Let’s start with the cold, hard facts. Currently, mass retailers make up 73% of retail media spending according to Marketing Drive. And when it comes to retail media network domination, Amazon is in a category all their own. The ecommerce giant holds 37% of the market share in the retail media space, with 14,200 partners representing over 17,000 brands. After Amazon, a select set of players continue to control the rest of the retail media market, with Walmart and Target claiming 36% of market share.
With competition so fierce, why even try?
Amazon’s massive success in retail media is no big surprise given the scale of shopper insights at their disposal. Their success also shows no sign of slowing down: 4Q22 ad sales were up 19% YoY at $11.6B. Even other big players can’t really compete with Amazon. For comparison, Walmart sold $2.7B in ads for the entire year.
Sure, retail media networks seem lucrative. But is it really worth trying given Amazon’s stronghold, especially if you’re a brick-and-mortar operation? Why bother against retail behemoths like Walmart and Target? Even outside of the big three, there’s little time or room to make an entrance. Competition is heating up for the remaining 27% of market share, and it’s the top concern for current RMN owners according to BCG.
But remember: market share distribution isn’t set in stone, and it’s also not the only indicator of opportunity. Overall spend in retail media continues to increase, meaning retailers can still grow their revenue by offering a network—as long as it’s competitive.
You have the insights—but they need enhancing
You may not be able to go head to head with Amazon, but that doesn’t mean a retail media investment is out of the question. One of the most important factors to consider is the strength of your first-party data insights. Amazon owes much of its success to the sheer scale of the shopper data they can access, as well as their turnkey ability to close the measurement loop.
Traditionally, ecommerce players have held this advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers, who often lack mechanisms to identify the individual behind the transaction. Or, if you do have an ecommerce division, your targeting may lack specificity if you can’t pull insights from your physical store for a comprehensive picture of shopper behavior.
But brick-and-mortar retailers do retain shopper insights with every transaction in the form of abbreviated card information. Offline identity resolution allows you to identify those unknown shoppers by leveraging this card information in a privacy-safe way. Also consider enriching your first-party data with additional attributes. The more you can segment your audience, the more precise the targeting you can offer your brand partners.
With the proper scale of shopper insights, you can appeal to your brand partners by offering them effective targeting and personalization opportunities through your retail media network.
Consider a programmatic approach
Alright, so you can’t beat Amazon on digital ads. But retail media technologies are still evolving, and now is the perfect time to dive in and stake your claim. By taking a programmatic advertising approach, and reaching shoppers where they are, you can move quickly on your first-party data and maximize ROI, rather than require their presence at a specific property.
Build the foundation for retail media success with Bridg
Retail media networks can bring big benefits to retailers, but it’s critical to think strategically and make sure you’re operating from a foundation of rich first-party insights. Retail media is still a developing space, so don’t be afraid to explore new channels and claim your market share before it’s too late.
We help our clients identify unknown shoppers by leveraging our market-leading offline identity resolution capabilities, expanding and enriching your first-party data foundation with over 300 attributes.
Contact us today to learn more.