In a recent discussion with Angus Dowie, Regional Sales Manager EMEA & APAC, we explored the future landscape of the retail media industry in 2024.
Dowie highlights regional variations shaping trends like on-site advertising and the evolution of ad tech solutions, including large retailers forging unique paths. Emphasizing collaboration’s importance, he predicts refined data analysis to avoid audience overlap and emphasizes the rising trend of precise audience targeting. Dowie foresees synchronized, personalized campaigns while warning against overwhelming consumer experiences. He stresses improving shopping experiences and integrated customer journeys. Addressing data privacy, he envisions industry strategies for responsible consumer data usage amid technological shifts. Dowie’s forward-thinking outlook extends to a burgeoning retail media opportunity, suggesting a symbiotic relationship between retail and traditional media sectors.
Keep reading to uncover the full conversation.
In the rapidly evolving landscape of retail media, what technological trends do you foresee taking center stage in 2024?
I think this depends on where we look because each region seems to have its own flavor of approach to retail media.
On-site advertising is where many RMNs have initially focused, and hence we have seen a big takeup of ad tech like Citrus, Criteo, Kevel, etc. Now these offerings are maturing, it will be interesting to see how these solutions develop considering the pressure around margin control. We have already seen some large retailers charter their own course.
Collaboration will be key. We’ve seen a lot of noise around CDPs and data clean rooms, and I think we will see a large focus on streamlining the analysis of data sets to ensure that audiences are not being double-counted. I think this corresponds back to the important topic of visibility and performance measurement which will remain center stage.
As audience monetization gets more and more granular, we will see increased targeting. In the creative space, there has been a lot of development in the last 12 months, and shoppers will begin to see some very targeted and personalized ads across multiple channels. This ties into the continued development and application of AI technologies. I think it is inevitable that we continue to see more omnichannel, and I think as consumers we will become more aware of it, as this enhanced targeting will go beyond digital ads to our in-store experiences.
How might the technological innovations expected in 2024 reshape the way brands connect with consumers in the retail media industry?
The consumer is key to everything, and I think it’s inevitable that some retailers will really focus their proposition on helping consumers. We will see media revenue being passed on to product discounts, and we will see a change in retailer messaging built around the idea of delivering loyalty back to the customer.
Brands will be hitting consumers with more synchronized campaigns across a broader range of channels than ever before and in a more personalized way than ever before.
For me, the danger is that consumers already live advertising-saturated lives, and retailers that push the limits of quantity risk a backlash in the shopper experience. For this reason, I can see offsite playing a big part in future campaigns to mitigate against disrupting in-store experiences, and perhaps in-store experiences becoming increasingly premium. I can also see off-site heavy omnichannel campaigns having an increasing focus on traditional media.
As consumer expectations evolve, how can the retail media industry enhance the overall shopping experience in 2024?
We are in the process of a big change to the shopper experience. Online shopping experience will be increasingly leveraged in the connected store, and personalized offers and discounting have the potential to become very advanced.
Retail media businesses that are able to capitalize on their media revenue in order to outwardly deliver benefits to the customer, rather than just to shareholders, have the potential to win a lot of consumer loyalty.
What specific strategies can the retail media sector employ to improve personalization and create seamless, integrated journeys for customers both online and offline in 2024?
In the last decade, we saw a big uptake in omnichannel commerce and digital buying experiences; supporting a consumer journey in retail across online, app, phone, and in-store. To provide advertising air-cover to these buying experiences across the customer journey, and throughout the marketing funnel, retailers need to adopt an omnichannel advertising strategy.
Brands will become increasingly aware of those retailers who have joined the dots, and those who haven’t, as expectations around transparency and campaign complexity increase.
To me, centralizing campaign data, processes, and workflows to a single platform is the essential foundation in order to provide this offer. Once this is achieved you can quickly scale complexity, which resonates with increased personalization and audience monetization.
Beyond this, we are bound to see AI leveraged in order to drive personalization at scale from a creative standpoint.
Regarding data privacy concerns, how do you anticipate the retail media industry addressing these issues in 2024, and what concrete steps can companies take to ensure responsible and transparent use of consumer data while still delivering effective targeted advertising?
There is obviously a lot going on with the cookie, and so far we’ve seen disjointed approaches to unique identifiers. As such, it’s difficult to guess where a unified identity resolution will come from without more standardization. Some providers are building their hopes around being a universal ID, whilst some are hedging their bets on a more complex ID marketplace where they can exist as a translation layer between brands/advertisers and the myriad of ID solutions that will exist below.
For me, retailers are more likely to take the risk-averse options whilst the outcome remains unclear. However it does seem that IDs will remain disparate, and so leveraging a solution built to join these dots together makes the most sense.
Consumers are required to opt in, and as most retail campaigns are largely built around loyalty data, apps, and online experiences connected to an account, ensuring that consumers stay in control and have visibility on this seems very achievable. However, what I will say is that retailers who offer this information up easily will find it easier to gain consumer trust.
I think there is a lot more to come from Retail Media. There have been pioneers, early movers, and now two strong phases of movement. However, there remain a number of retailers who are yet to move but can reach very targeted audiences in-store, at point of sale, and who can capture vast quantities of customer data. The retail media opportunity goes well beyond traditional retailers, to airlines, hotels, gym groups, and so much more. We are still in the very early stages of an advertising revolution that is going to shake the industry to its core.
I am particularly interested to see how retail media will interact with traditional media. Traditional media continues to have a very powerful offering. I believe the retail media revolution will demand a new standard of ROI and measurement from traditional publishers, and I believe these two sectors will come together to form a symbiotic relationship whereby retail campaigns are increasingly extended into traditional channels to support its full-funnel offering.