2020 was defined by change, and for one major retailer, adapting to the needs of shoppers also catapulted its retail media ecosystem. David Peterson, vice president of sales at Roundel--the retail media branch of Target--explained during the Path to Purchase Institute’s recent Retail Media Forum virtual event how changing shopper behaviors have coincided with an influx of brands and retail agencies looking to maximize retail media strategies through a mix of digital and in-store targeting.
Looking at how the customer experience has changed during the Covid-19 pandemic can unlock new opportunities in retail media, Peterson said, “[By] focusing on the customer, or guest, experience, more retail media insights can be realized.”
While the growth in retail media was already underway prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 catalyzed and accelerated the ongoing trends as shoppers rapidly changed their habits. The pandemic led to a huge swing to online shopping options for Target’s guests, who leaned into same-day pickup. In 2020, Target saw a 70% uptick in in-store pickup, which the retailer already had operated for some years prior to the pandemic, according to Peterson. Target’s app also became an important tool for shoppers.
“In 2020, we saw guests really change their shopping experience,” Peterson explained. “The importance of same-day fulfillment rose to the top. … That's where the app really came in. 2020 was adding fuel to the fire in terms of opportunity and growth.”
Shoppers also flocked to omnichannel options, with 12 million guests becoming omnichannel shoppers. Target omnichannel shoppers spent four times more than in-store only shoppers and 10 times more than digital-only shoppers, according to Peterson. However, most sales were still happening in stores, with sales increasingly influenced by a digital starting point. That digital touchpoint presents many more opportunities for retail media strategies.
Roundel approaches its platform with clients in a self-service way through its online advertising agency partner Criteo. Just as shoppers are using more methods to fill their carts and make purchases, retail media strategies are expanding, with budgets coming in from different departments like e-commerce or trade. This mix of retail media investment underscores a shift from in-store targeting to digital. The digital platforms also enable retail media clients to test campaign performances in real time and learn insights quickly.
“More and more of our clients are looking for ways to create and manage their campaigns,” Peterson said. “[This means a] self-service platform that supports a retail media ecosystem. Whether an agency or brand, they want to find ways to be empowered to leverage these tools to really manage the campaigns themselves, and I think our partnership [with Criteo] is delivering on that.”
Looking ahead, it’s expected that more digital and omnichannel growth is on the horizon.
“The takeaway for marketers is that guests are embracing more ways to shop across digital and in store, and brands and marketers continue to adapt strategies to reach consumers wherever they are,” Peterson noted. “With the growth of digital, retail media is in a position to drive great results.”