Retail Media investment driven by regulatory and tech developments
The increased importance of Retail Media in the digital strategies of brands can be explained by the evolution of the availability of consumer data, which is at the heart of any media personalization strategy.
In the past, third-party cookies were mainly used to drive this strategy. Regulatory developments to better protect consumer data, including the GDPR in Europe, have led to new technological constraints, making cookies obsolete: This process began as early as 2016, when Safari removed cookies from its platform. It continues today with Google Chrome, the most popular browser, announcing the removal of third-party cookies from its platform next year.
As a result, brands need to find new data sources to build their digital activation strategy. One solution is for brands to better leverage their first-party (1P) data assets, i.e., their proprietary data, by collecting more and better data from their customers. But to create digital activation strategies with long-term value, proprietary data is no longer sufficient: it needs to be enriched with data – especially transactional data – from retail partners.
Facilitated data sharing between brands and retailers allows brands to deploy ever more relevant digital marketing strategies with a high level of autonomy. This increased collaboration and data sharing between retailers and brands is possible thanks to “data clean rooms” such as Amazon Marketing Cloud, LiveRamp or Decentriq, which allow the sharing of personally identifiable consumer data at the individual level in an anonymous way.
A rapidly evolving ecosystem
The ecosystem of technology partners around Retail Media is highly fragmented and constantly evolving, with partners that are more or less specialized depending on major Retail Media activities: first-party, second-party or third-party cookie data collection tools, data processing and audience creation, activation or analysis, etc. The challenge for brands will be to identify which combination of technology partners will best meet their needs, depending on their current technical ecosystem and their own business challenges.
Retailers are also an essential part of this ecosystem, providing access to transactional data to build their Retail Media strategy. While the majority of retailers in the US have launched Retail Media offerings, most retailers in Europe are still in the experimentation and use case-testing phases; few have yet industrialized use cases with brands.
Valuable use cases beyond Retail Media
Retail Media allows brands to address marketing use cases from consumer insight generation to digital campaign activation and marketing performance measurement. The availability of transactional data (previously unavailable to CPG B2B2C brands) at the “individual” level enables the construction of insights and activation plans that are all the more impactful. The same data can be used to measure their effect on sales and ROI, enabling effective optimization of activation plans.
Retail Media is just the next step towards more collaboration between retailers and brands. In a long-term partnership perspective, collaboration and data sharing can enable the implementation of more advanced category management and supply chain use cases, such as the analysis of the long-term value of existing promotions or the prediction of in-store product demand and thus optimize supply chain operations.
Which Go-To-Market strategy to launch?
For retailers, it’s important to define a new offer to monetize their data. This can range from monetizing their owned media inventory (website), to sharing data “as a service” in a clean room, to offering services (campaign management or reporting as proposed by Amazon for example). These new offers can be marketed internally or via partners. The internal or external development strategy will determine the associated costs, in terms of salaried resources (commercial and technical profiles to be recruited) and technical resources (clean room tools, technical infrastructure to be set up).
For brands, the approach will be more traditional, from defining their business needs by identifying and prioritizing use cases, to setting up the partnership with their key business partners. Likewise, the implementation of pilots with a retailer to test the value of use cases can be carried out by a third-party partner.