Janine Flaccavento

SVP Media Services, Merkle

Over the past few years, retail media networks (RMNs) have emerged as a way for retailers and CPGs to forge a mutually beneficial relationship while improving the shopper experience. What was once a small space, consisting of just a handful of key players, now includes grocers, big box stores, specialty retailers, and more. This expansion is fueled by growing demand from CPGs; our research in 2020 showed that 52% of brands planned to move more marketing dollars to retail media networks this year. Retailers are also increasingly interested, recognizing the value of monetizing their site space and first-party data.

Needs across CPGs and retailers vary substantially

CPGs have unique wants and needs when it comes to finding an ideal RMN. When asked what they look for in a potential RMN partner, the CPGs surveyed named a variety of attributes, from innovation in ad solutions to transparency with reporting. At the same time, retailers face significant challenges in their attempts to create or grow their RMN operations. Retailers cited “finding the right partner,” “internal organization design,” and “sales of the data or media solution” among their top barriers to getting started with a monetization program. Even after a retailer establishes its RMN, new hurdles arise in scaling the offering and keeping up with the pace of the competition. With these complexities in what is, for many brands, still a nascent space, there is immense value in partnering with an agency that can provide the strategic solutions; guidance across a variety of technology and platform providers; and, if needed, hands-on keyboard activation, all in a customizable way, based on the retailers’ goals for growth. At dentsu, we believe in creating more strategic organizational integrations of retail media networks and brand/enterprise marketing functions. This creates virtuous cycles as profit from retail media can be reinvested into the enterprise business to build enhanced experiences for consumers, suppliers and to the retailer’s business overall.

Client-centered customized RMN solutions accommodate the varying needs of retailers

The RMN solutions available in market skew heavily toward out of the box platforms, which, while convenient, don’t always address the unique challenges facing each individual retailer. Other options, such as dentsu Retail Media, including Merkle’s New Stream Media, take an alternative approach by offering a bespoke solution. Every aspect of the solution is tailored to the individual client’s needs, working through a consultant’s lens to build an RMN that serves the client based on where they are in their journey and scales with them based on their growth goals and their organization’s commitment and investment.

Bespoke solutions offer several benefits over out of the box platforms:

  • They are platform and technology agnostic, working with retailers to find the right platform for their revenue and technology goals if and when it’s needed. This allows for flexibility in engagements between retailers and platforms and can eliminate the issue of losing control of key elements like vendor relationships, first-party data, and reporting capabilities.
  • They foster innovative execution roadmaps that blend best-in-class practices with unique retailer needs. The roadmap can be tied to a retailer’s specific requirements instead of forcing evolution to follow a set schedule.
  • They provide flexibility in ways of working, supporting a retailer’s desire to outsource or in-house. Many retailers want to take on the operation of their RMN on their own, but don’t have the right staff to upskill or scale their teams quickly enough to take advantage of the market. A bespoke solution can embed team members within the retailer’s organization to train staff on their unique RMN setup and prepare them for a successful in-housing transition.
  • They can offer strategic organizational integration, taking into consideration the total enterprise value of the solution. Where a point solution may operate in a silo, a bespoke solution looks at the RMN and how it intertwines with other areas of the business, creating a cohesive customer-first approach with impact that extends beyond just the RMN.

Dentsu retail media is proud to be one of the agencies offering a bespoke solution like the one described above. As noted in The Forrester Wave™: Sell-Side Retail Media Solutions, Q3 2021, “The company provides a flexible, consulting-based approach to customizing retail media networks for individual clients. This differentiated positioning is perfect for retailers behind on retail media that want a best-of-breed tech stack but lack bandwidth to put it together themselves.” Visit our press release to read more about our placement in this Forrester Wave.

As the RMN opportunity continues to grow, more and more retailers will need support getting started down the path toward monetization. Bespoke solutions are well positioned to evolve with the space to meet changing demands, ultimately creating a “win-win-win” situation for advertisers, retailers, and shoppers alike.

Contact us to learn more about our retail media solutions.