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Unlocking the Benefits of Retail Media

15 Feb 2024

Five key takeaways from P2PI’s first Retail Media Summit in Canada

By Victoria Cromie & Victoria Salerno, Mars United Commerce

The Retail Media Summit Canada conference hosted by Path to Purchase Institute (P2PI) in Toronto this month provided invaluable insights into the evolving landscape of retail media, offering strategic directions for brands looking to navigate this dynamic space effectively.

Here’s a summary of the key learnings we brought back from the event.

1. Retail Media Has Evolved

As the marketplace matures, retail media is evolving from a gross-margin driver to a growth platform. Advertisers are prioritizing closed-loop measurement and precise targeting (right audience at the right moment). Standardization efforts by organizations like IAB Canada are aiming to streamline the industry and foster transparency.

2. Commerce Is Unified

Optimizing the omnichannel shopper journey is paramount to success. Although 90% of sales still occur in-store, it’s essential to recognize that 53% of in-store shoppers engage with digital platforms before making a purchase. This underscores the importance of viewing the digital journey as complementary to in-store experiences rather than as a separate entity.

We heard from industry experts that combining offsite and onsite media in campaigns leads to a 65% increase in conversion rates, which illustrates the need for an integrated approach even more clearly. Recognizing the importance of an always-on retail media strategy and a deep understanding of the consumer journey, brands must identify the friction points and capitalize on key moments of engagement throughout the shopping experience.

3. New Ad Formats Are Emerging

As the advertising landscape evolves in this privacy-first era, brands are exploring new formats to enhance their reach and relevance. With half of consumers already surfing the internet without third-party cookies, partnerships with publishers and video suppliers are emerging as crucial strategies.

For instance, collaborations like the one between Best Buy and Roku represent innovative approaches to navigating the evolving post-cookie terrain by delivering innovative ad formats and more insightful data points about consumers during their shopping journey.

4. Making Measurement Actionable

Effective measurement requires credible and scalable insights. Retailers are challenged with establishing trust, scalability, and actionability for their data; partnering with industry leaders like COMMB (Canadian Out-of-Home Marketing and Measurement Bureau) will be essential for verifying and building data credibility outside of their own walls. Meanwhile, insights must be actionable, with a focus on purchase attribution that can drive incremental sales lift.

5. Taking a Full-Funnel Approach

Retail media facilitates a comprehensive marketing strategy that caters to the “always shopping” mindset prevalent in today’s consumer marketplace. With a significant portion of marketing dollars now being allocated to retail media networks, brands should adopt a full-funnel approach as retailers continue extending their networks outside their own walls to accommodate for this growth.

Overall, P2PI’s first-ever Canadian conference highlighted the need for brands to embrace a holistic approach to retail media, leveraging unified commerce strategies, innovative ad formats, actionable measurement techniques, and high-quality inventory to drive success in an ever-evolving marketplace.

By staying abreast of emerging trends and implementing forward-thinking strategies, brands can effectively capitalize on the vast opportunities offered by retail media.


About the Authors

Victoria Cromie is Managing Director for Canada at Mars United Commerce, where she is responsible for leading the development of strategies that will elevate the company’s brand and deepen its understanding of the Canadian commerce market. Based in Toronto, Cromie is a seasoned marketing and digital leader with two decades of experience working with global brands and a proven track record of building high-performing, cross-functional teams that exceed organizational goals.

Victoria Salerno is Director of Client Leadership at Mars United. Also based in Toronto, she is responsible for working cross-functionally to develop impactful, actionable strategies while delivering quantifiable value for her clients. Salerno has a rich background of marketing and communication experience and has been supporting CPG companies in driving business growth since 2013.

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