Retail Media: Mistakes and Misconceptions (and How to Avoid Them)
If it seems like retail media is at the top of every retailer’s tech wish list recently, it’s because it is … or at least it should be. As advertising trends shift from in-store to digital, and customers rely more on their smartphones to inform their purchasing decisions, retailers need to focus on tools and solutions that can help them thrive in a new, tech-centric environment.
Why You Need Retail Media
In-store signage and paper coupon clipping are slowly being replaced. Technology innovations have placed almost every step of the customer journey — from list-making and brand research to coupon and offer redemption — into the palms of their hands, and shoppers have risen to the occasion. Bringing your retail media program in-house not only gets you a cut of the margin-rich $100-plus billion in revenue that’s up for grabs, but it gives you ownership of the entire customer journey.
When you bridge a shopper’s interactions with your digital properties to their in-store experience, you’re capturing their interest and their loyalty at every step along the way. If leveraged correctly, these relationships, and the resulting first-party data, can become invaluable tools as you continue to grow and scale your retail media program.
Common Mistakes and Misconceptions
Before you recruit your engineering team and dive into development, you need to be realistic about the task at hand. Unless you’re a big retailer or popular e-commerce leader, it’s likely you don’t have the resources, budget or time to build your entire platform in-house. In fact, the biggest mistake you can make is trying to tackle all the needed components on your own.
Retailers that have gone down that path often find themselves compromising on features they can’t quickly get to market, or outsourcing to multiple partners whose one-off builds don’t offer necessary integration or deliver long-term results. Seamless functionality is key to delivering a top-notch experience to your customers and to obtaining the first-party data you need to fuel your strategy. Losing customer loyalty is the quickest way to derail your growth, so building things right the first time should be your No. 1 priority.
The Right Stuff
A successful retail media platform includes several critical components you can’t afford to overlook. First, it must be omnichannel in order to offer a seamless customer experience. Shoppers should be able to go from their smartphone into your store and feel connected at every touchpoint. Personalized, targeted communication and offers are expected and a customer’s loyalty will go to the retailer that consistently delivers value and ease.
Which brings us back to first-party data. An owned retail media platform is the best way for you to protect the data you get from your customers’ unique preferences and shopping habits. Take the time to learn how to leverage this information to build stronger relationships, not only with your customers, but with suppliers and preferred brands.
Most importantly, find a tech partner that can deliver to your needs and goals with easily integrated, complementary tools and solutions that support long-term, scalable growth.
The Road to Success
Exciting things are happening in the retail technology space. In fact, there’s never been a better time for smaller, more agile players to get into the game. Thanks to innovative retail tech partners, the solutions once only enjoyed by retail giants are becoming much more accessible, smoothing out a once uneven playing field.
The bottom line is that there’s no reason retailers of all sizes can’t find great success in this ever-evolving retail technology landscape. They just need to map out the right plan and get on the road.
Sean Turner is the chief technology officer of Swiftly®, a best-in-class retail technology company that delivers omnichannel tools for enterprise retailers.
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Sean Turner is CTO and Co-Founder of Swiftly, a technology platform for supermarkets that takes the friction out of grocery shopping and brings the advantages of e-commerce to brick and mortar stores, enabling supermarkets to beat online retailers on price, convenience and selection.