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OPINION Why in-store is an important channel for retail media

Boots is seeing fewer in-store visits but more online shops. Image courtesy of Boots

Retail media is morphing into full funnel, with off-site, social, and streaming TV formats coming to the fore. However, the digitising of surfaces instore, including digital billboards, digital screens in store and at POS that is becoming ‘front and centre’, writes Colin Lewis.  This should not be surprising as we all know that shoppers instore are still 70-90% of traffic for many retailers – instore delivers ‘audiences at scale’

This should not be surprising as digital in store is attractive to brands due to its dynamic and creative possibilities. In addition, pressures around sustainability mean that retailers and shopper marketing teams will have to adopt more digital options if they wish to keep their ‘license to operate’.

Andrew Lipsman of Media, Ads and Commerce believes that instore media can compete with TV. He writes that “in-store media is effective because it delivers so much of the value that linear TV has traditionally delivered. It just so happens to produce these effects close to the point of sale.

Lipsman’s argument is that “in-store retail media delivers reach, quality, and performance—in that order. The reason for preferencing reach and quality is that it’s otherwise easy to overlook the upper-funnel impacts that in-store advertising will have”.

The question is what FMCG advertiser are looking for with their brands. According to BCG’s 2024 CPG Retail Media Benchmarking Survey, 53% of CPG brands and agencies want to primarily drive mid-, upper-, or full-funnel objectives. Nevertheless, the most common objective—and the remaining 47%—was lower-funnel.

Yet, FMCG brands are not talking about investing in digital in-store retail media. Why is this?

  • There is not enough inventory available.
  • The technologies for instore are not set-up as recognisable ad units.
  • It’s hard-to-get digital instore media on a media schedule as agencies cannot buy it like other media
  • ‘Its not on marketer’s radar’ as Lipsman points out.

One other reason: its not as ‘sexy’ as TV. Yet, with TV viewing time collapsing across the globe, where will those dollars end up? Perhaps it will be instore retail media? Or Retail Media with Connected TV audiences driven by Retailers?

Retail Media Networks are the focus of a brand new RetailX Events conference this June. 

MediaX explores the experiences of well-established retailers in this space to new entrants and the agencies who are helping make things tick. For the full list of speakers, agenda and to register – click here.

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