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Retail Media - Win or Whine for Shopper Marketers

Retail Media Blog (1)

With promises of greater personalization and targeting capacity backed by point of sale data, retailers are inviting consumer goods marketers closer to shoppers with the launch of their own retail media platforms. 

“Taking note of the success at Amazon and even the advertising dollars amassed by Google and Facebook, retailers such as Walmart, Target and Kroger have worked to build up their digital media assets in recent years to better establish themselves as legitimate and powerful options for national brand advertising, not just trade and shopper programs,” states the Path to Purchase IQ article, The Retail Media Play.

Despite the increasing availability and pressure to participate in these retailer-specific media platforms, the payoff for shopper marketers to add a new tactic to their arsenal is not quite clear.

“There is a hesitancy to put money towards something that you don’t know how it is going to impact your sales or your distribution,” states one Shopper Marketing Director at a major food company.


The Push for Retail Media

This uncertainty is not stopping retailers from pushing retail media as a viable marketing channel positioning it as an opportunity to get closer to that buyer-ready customer every brand is looking for.

Offerings from Paid Search to On-Platform Shoppable Recipes are enticing shopper marketers as additional tactics for them to use to draw attention to new product releases, capture additional market share, or supplement trade events. 

Additionally, the potential to tie these retailer-specific marketing efforts to retailer data as a driver of targeting and better reporting has manufacturers excited for the potential.

““Retailer data will continue to be the most sought-after key to success for shopper marketers,” states the article “Shopper Marketing Trends in 2020” from Path to Purchase IQ.ore than likely, this year the annual planning will be much more stressful with COVID-19 causing program cancellations, dramatic shifts in buyer behavior and an imbalance in the supply chain. (See “Facing a Shopper Marketing Shutdown” from Path-to-Purchase IQ). 



“Retail Media is a huge pain point for us. It works, but the cost structure is not transparent, the measurement is self done and the media is not that cool,” states a Director of Shopper Marketing for a global manufacturer representing multiple brands and categories.

Clearly, not all the intricacies of retail media have been worked out and this puts additional tension for shopper marketers to understand where it fits in their strategy and their budgets.

“It is hard to understand where this fits in our budget if we are not talking to retailers about the totality of our investment with them,” states one Sr. Director of Shopper Marketing.

The urgency for retailers to engage manufacturers on these platforms is creating the perception that retailers are using retail media as a bargaining chip for distribution, execution and trade programs and additional facetime with retail buyers.

“Still, industry experts only see retail media platforms as a money grab if retailers are forcing brands to buy tools that aren’t any more effective or efficient than the ones that exist elsewhere,” according to the article The Retail Media Play from Path to Purchase IQ.Fire Drills



As history has shown us, new retailer initiatives like retail media, often stick around forcing manufacturers to find ways to be successful in this new ecosystem.

“Regardless of the budgeting obstacles they might present, these media platforms will only continue to grow in importance for retailers as well as brands as both groups continue working toward reaching the right shoppers with the right message at the right time,” continues the article The Retail Media Play from Path to Purchase IQ.

As a result, shopper marketers need to adjust and expand their thinking about how retail media will fit into their strategy.

Successful shopper marketers will be able to:

  1. Clearly assess and communicate their current budget allocations and where an investment in retail media may present an opportunity.
  2. Organize communication between their brand teams, external agencies, field marketing and sales teams to plan and execute retail media campaigns aligned with the greater shopper marketing objectives.
  3. Build a strong narrative for the sales team to better negotiate retail media as part of the total retailer investment setting up a more collaborative approach to additional spending with a retail partner.

Unfortunately, many shopper marketers are not positioned well to make these adjustments quickly because current practices are divided amongst several spreadsheets designed to plan and reconcile using current practices.

This leaves incorporating retail media into current plans a “best guess” plan rather than a strategic shopper marketing play.

Companies that have centralized the planning, communication and budgeting of their shopper marketing programs with a solution like Shopperations, will have an easier time adjusting to and and investing in retail media effectively.

Are you struggling to see how retail media fits into your shopper marketing strategy? Do you need a way to bring consistency to your shopper marketing planning and communications?

Let’s talk about how the experienced team at Shopperations can help?

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After more than 15 years in Consumer Packaged Goods industry, I became a software entrepreneur. Today, I design and sell Shopperations, a web-based, collaborative planning software for Marketers on both CPG and Retail sides, to enable transparency, accountability and stronger Shopper Marketing promotional analytics. I am passionate about all things Retail and Shopper Marketing, love reading about Neuroscience progress as it relates to shopper research, and care about process improvement and marketing automation technology.
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