push media

Retail media

Retail media is a relatively new way of grouping advertising media.

What are retail media?

The term comes originally from the media available within the retail environment. As the area of retail media has developed into a segment in its own right new media have been added. This has taken the media included outside the strict retail envionment whilst retaining strong retail links. A good example of this is fleet media. Fleet media is the term used to refer to advertisements on the sides of the fleet of lorries, trucks and vans used by a retailer for logistical purposes. While these vehicles do deliver to retailers it would be a fairly large stretch to consider them as a part of the retail environment. Despite this fleet media is a tool in the retail media consulting toolbox and so a valid retail medium.

Though many retail media are owned by retailers this is, again, not always the case. Many of the billboards that are considered as retail media are independently owned by specialists who also manage other media outside of the retail sphere.

Currently the retail media group lists 25 different media as being part of the retail media space. These range from car park posters to in store radio stations. Also included, strangely, are certain forms of direct mail marketing.

Retail media, context and targeting

Retail media are to a large extent defined by their context and so it has a great influence on how they are used. Most retail media reach their audience at or near the point of sale. Research suggests that this is advantageous in terms of swaying purchasing decisions (PoS) 1 though there is a great deal of dispute over the figures involved. This is in part because retail media are a new segment and their measurement is not yet an understood area.

Due to the task oriented nature of activities in the retail environment it is harder for the advertising target to change the channel or leave the advertising environment. This can be viewed as either an advantage or a disadvantage. The opponents of untargeted push media suggest that where a media placement is not relevant to a particular segment of the potential audience this can cause disaffection toward a brand. If a customer has the ability to change channel this disaffection is less likely than simply losing the contact with the irrelevant customer for the duration of the contact. The proponents suggest that media engagement that would have been favourable is avoided and that the inability to avoid the contact prevents this.

Where targeting is available it is generally based on an opt-in approach increasing the target acceptance of marketing communications and so obviating the discussion of advertising avoidance. Retail media are generally tied to an individual retailer and so may not reflect the market for a given product. For a smaller retailer this can lower the ability to apply accurate targeting. Beyond contextual targeting (through the retail environment) very little has been done in terms of targeting most retail media. Exceptions to this are developing, but company confidentiality makes it hard to view the potential targeting mechanisms while they are in the proof of concept phase.

There is potential for conflict of interest between the retailer selling the media and the CPG/FMCG buying the media unless a third party is used as an intermediary. Selection of a third party who can add real value rather than just adding cost can be a difficult process as most third parties have partnerships with one side or the other.

Retail Media Challenges

  • Audience Measures: The greatest challenge to retail media networks, and that of any new medium, is providing a means to measure the reach of their audience.
  • Buying Process: The sales cycle for retail media is not mature and therefore somewhat more difficult than traditional media.

Retail media networks

Retail media networks are a single retail medium that consists of audio or video commercial announcements. Most of the networks available for purchase today are narrowcast in grocery and drug stores. As consumers continue to practice ad-avoidance the creation of areas where this is difficult has attraction for many advertisers. These networks have advantages and disadvantages when compared to traditional radio and television advertising. Clearly traditional channels have been chosen by the user and so can be more compelling, while in store channels are more immediate and targetable. Whether this attempt to create a captive audience is actually beneficial or harmful is a subject of some debate as there does not appear to be any clear research published which proves either point of view.

Retail media networks cannot provide the same type of audience measurement techniques as traditional broadcast or print media. Their reach can currently only be measured by looking at national consumer surveys or through the use of loyalty card data. For example, Simmons Market Research Bureau includes a question on grocery shopping, asking which stores a participant shopped at in the last month. This statistic can be used to estimate the monthly traffic, and therefore potential reach, within each chain. Using this information along with other surveys, such as the Food Marketing Institute’s annual U.S. Grocery Shopping Trends survey, the frequency and length of visits can be estimated and therefore a rough approximation made to total Gross Rating Points.

External links

  1. P.R.I.S.M., In-store Marketing Institute
  2. Simmons Market Research Bureau an Experian company
  3. Arbitron
  4. Food Marketing Institute
  5. Point-Of-Purchase Advertising International
  6. List of retail media available


  1. The 1995 POPAI Consumer Buying Habits Study (Point-of-Purchase Advertising Institute).
  2. The Arbitron Retail Media Study Volume I: The Impact of Retail Audio Broadcasting (Arbitron).
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