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.
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%)
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.