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What’s next for retail media, according to industry experts?

In September, I had the pleasure of attending Rokt’s Future of Retail Media Summit, which brought together industry experts who discussed what the future of retail media has in store.

The day included remarks from industry experts, including Dave Peterson, the global head of retail media at Epsilon, who spent nearly two decades working at Target and helped to develop Roundel, its in-house retail media agency. We also heard data-backed insights from trend forecaster Libby Rodney, chief strategy officer at The Harris Poll. Also on the agenda were Sir Martin Sorrell, founder of WPP, Craig Galvin, SVP International for Rokt, Irina Minakova, Dentsu’s retail media lead, and Keshav Parthasarathy, who authors the Retail Media Insights newsletter.

What’s next for retail media?

As the name of the event suggested, discussions during the Sept. 27 gathering trended heavily toward how our burgeoning industry can continue to grow while improving pain points for stakeholders.

Peterson predicted the next frontier of retail media would involve looking backward: the store. While in-store retail media has been integral to our UK retail media campaigns at SMG, US retail media has primarily focused on e-commerce channels. Peterson, for example, said more retailers were likely to adopt digital screens as they look to add more in-store touchpoints, though such rollouts could be delayed due to costs associated with them.

Other predictions:

  • Retailers across the industry will expand from their own digital platforms to more off-site platforms.

  • Shoppable content will grow, especially as consumers crave greater personalization in the shopper experience.

  • Advancements in personalization will be driven largely by AI in areas such as reviews, price comparisons and personalised assistants.

Facts and figures

Rodney shared data and findings from a recent research report, including:

  • Abandoned Carts: 75% of consumers report frustration at checkout, leading 37% of them to never return.

  • Deal-oriented: 62% of shoppers compare prices online due to inflation and rising costs of living.

  • Relevancy: Two-thirds of consumers expect brand communications to be relevant to them.

  • Personalization: 68% of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that promote personalization.

  • Offers: 78% of consumers are excited to receive tailored offers, while 67% of shoppers expect them.

The work ahead

Our job is to cut through the complexity and simplify retail media. We, as an industry, must think about the consumer first. Successful campaigns centre the shopper by first considering their wants and needs and working backward.

For brands, we must work to standardise and simplify the channel — there are some 170 retail media networks in the US alone. SMG has long been in support of greater measurement standards and transparency in reporting to enable brands to make the best possible marketing decisions.

Retailers must also contend with their new role as data providers to brands, as the tech industry moves away from that role. Retailers need to use this new-found power wisely and understand the value of their shopper data. Retailers must safeguard consumer data and use it in a way that improves the shopper experience, ensuring media is served to customers in a way that is relevant and personalised.

As a whole, we must reimagine how we view and communicate the benefits of retail media, focusing more on the long-term growth potential in lieu of the short-term insights.

Who are SMG?

SMG, part of the Next15 group, are the global leaders in connected commerce marketing based in London and New York. With a track record of trading over £1 million in retail media daily, SMG has 15 years of experience connecting brands with shoppers during consideration and purchase. Their expertise includes evaluating over £1.25 billion in historic media investments to inform shopper marketers' decisions. Contact us on to learn more.


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