A "Future-Forward" Look at
Redefining Retail Media

Learnings from the
P2Pi Future Forward Conference

By Katie Arena, VP of Marketing at Clinch

A successful retail media network requires a three-way value exchange across retailer, brand, consumer.  But in a sector that feels seemingly saturated, how do you not only uphold this value, but bring a differentiated offering to market? Some of these answers unfolded during the latest Path to Purchase Future Forward event in New Orleans, where Clinch joined the likes of Dollar General, Kellogg, and others, on a panel to discuss scalable solutions driving growth across the Retail Media space, and the brands investing in them.

May 26, 2023 

Retail Media Networks have evolved into a meaningful investment to drive conversions on site, but the future is all about figuring out how we leverage onsite learnings to refine and expand to establish more of a full-funnel, omnichannel operating machine. According to Oz Etzioni, CEO and Co-founder at Clinch, that philosophy boils down to the brand’s ability to understand who buys what, and why, and how to establish the best relationship with that individual.

“Retail Media has come to play a critical role in the intersection of consumers, retailers, and brands” said Manish Sharma, Vice President and GM of Omni-commerce at Kellogg, during opening remarks on a panel titled Redefining Retail – Scalable strategies that bring value to Retail Media and the Brands Investing in Them. “They (Retail Media Networks) are a more sophisticated digital version of old-school advertising. We now have capabilities to more efficiently move the consumer down the funnel, and apply tactics that cater more directly to not only conversion, but the ability to establish long term loyalty.”

As one of the nation’s largest chains of value-driven variety stores, Dollar General knows a thing or two about what it takes to establish long-term loyalty. The retailer’s approach builds upon an expansive first-party data set of 90 million unique customer profiles who generate 2.2 billion transactions a year across more than 19,000 stores, with a sophisticated AI-driven prospecting strategy applied within, where there is the highest propensity to buy.

Dollar General’s holistic and unique approach to establishing their media network unifies their enterprise advertising strategy, which is built to drive foot traffic to their stores nationwide, and their Retail Media Network to offer performance-driven opportunities at the brand level. Chad Fox, Dollar General’s CMO, stated “We built our ecosystem very carefully; the majority of transactions at Dollar General happen in store. We don’t really have an e-commerce business as large as others, so we must find a way to focus on where our customers are and generate awareness in a unique way that drives incrementality, traffic to store, and effectively re-targets post-conversion.”

A recent McKinsey report uncovered the most important factors for capturing, driving, and retaining advertising spend across Retail Media Networks, which included: providing superior performance, giving access to otherwise inaccessible audiences, and providing omnichannel scale that is often difficult to achieve. Data remains at the heart of a retail media network’s competitive set, but equally as important is a Retailers’ ability to establish a tech stack that is fully automated, capable of rapid-optimizations, and omnichannel – in it’s ability to support onsite and offsite advertising activities, and also audience enrichment and segmentation. 

The panel concluded with the ask of associating a single word with “Retail Media”, to which Oz Etzioni, CEO and CO-founder of Clinch replied “Finally”. Retail Media Networks represent the manifestation of everything our collective industry has been working towards, which is a fully operable, 360-degree approach to personalization – only achieved through the true convergence of creative and data. “The notion of unifying key stakeholders – platforms, data partners, creative, etc. – has always been top of mind, but now, through the rise of Retail Media, we’re able to see this really come to life and shatter ROAS benchmarks.” 

We still have a ways to go before we reach a truly unified state. His advice, coming from a business that has played an instrumented role in establishing highly successful retail media networks like Albertsons Media Collective? Even more established networks should take their time in the experiment phase to really know what will work best for their audiences, and don’t be afraid to cast a wide net when sourcing different channels and environments to add to your media mix.