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Retail media’s promise stems from its ability to offer advertising directly on ecommerce marketplaces, which puts brands close to the point of purchase. However, the first party data from customer purchases and loyalty programs that powers retail media can also unlock additional opportunities that go beyond a single ecommerce site.
A pair of recent initiatives from Dollar General Media Network (DGMN) illustrate how first-party data can reach in-person sales and rural communities.
Let’s take a look:
Meta + Dollar General: In-store measurement
In a first-of-its-kind partnership with Meta, advertisers have the opportunity to use Dollar General’s 90 million user profiles to reach customers across Meta apps, which include Facebook and Instagram.
The companies say this test enabled advertisers to “close the loop” with in-store sales, meaning it will provide the ability to measure how marketing on a digital social media platform influenced a purchase made in-person.
“We are thrilled to debut this market first initiative, allowing our advertisers to reach Dollar General customers via Meta placements while utilizing our opted-in first-party data,” said Charlene Charles, head of DG Media Network Operations, in a statement. “Our team provides full end-to-end campaign support and creative services while measuring closed-loop, attributable store sales. We look forward to extending the reach of DGMN through the world’s largest social platform to deliver even more effective media for our advertisers.”
Advertisers can also use Meta’s SQL-based custom measurement and analysis to evaluate the impact of marketing investments. This is designed to uncover new insights, including measurement of return on ad spend.
LiveRamp data collaboration: Reaching rural communities
DGMN collaborated with LiveRamp in an effort to “close the digital gap” between CPG brands and rural communities, the companies said. This aims to address a key growth opportunity in digital marketing: Often, targeting is concentrated in high-population areas, but there are 46 million Americans in rural communities where internet access may be scattered, and there is less infrastructure for omnichannel capabilities.
LiveRamp’s tools resolve offline and online identities, enabling a deeper understanding of customers across populations and geographies. In turn, DGMN can serve CPGs with products in stores, and provide a more complete picture of customers from exposure to purchase.
The collaboration has allowed advertisers to reach 100% of Dollar General customers across online and offline channels, improve analytics and access real-time customer data in 47 states. It also opened up collaboration with 50 additional companies, including CPG partners like Unilever, PepsiCo and Hershey.
“Brands want to engage with the customer and provide tailored, personalized recommendations, from cereal to personal care essentials,” said Chad Fox, Dollar General’s VP and chief marketing officer, in a statement. “We now have a sophisticated platform that enables us to serve our communities in a personalized way.”
View a full case study here.
Dollar General Media Network in 2023
The ability to reach customers through digital channels opens up a new avenue of growth for Dollar General. It has ramped up ecommerce through a partnership with DoorDash, and a mobile app. On Dollar General’s recent earnings call, company leaders said the media network was an important piece of efforts to create a “digital front porch” for customers.
“We are seeing significant interest and participation from CPG companies and brands who are seeking to connect with our more than 90 million unique customer profiles, especially rural customers who represent about 30% of the country,” said CEO Jeff Owen. “We expect our DG Media Network to grow significantly in 2023 as we expand the program and enhance the value proposition for both our customers and brand partners while substantially increasing the overall net financial benefit for the business.”
With a marketplace and delivery, layering on retail media can drive high-margin opportunities to boost existing businesses, and open up work with tech companies such as Meta and LiveRamp that show a path to revenue through services that go beyond selling products. Dollar General is now firmly enmeshed in the tech ecosystem.
Trending in Marketing
New advertising opportunities are being beta tested for in-store audio and product demos.
Retail media’s fast growth isn’t only limited to increasing spend. The advertising itself is also poised to appear in more places beyond ecommerce marketplaces, and even beyond the web.
The latest example comes from Walmart Connect, which is the retail media arm of the world’s largest retailer.
Walmart shared details on testing that it is completing for in-store retail media. To this point, Walmart Connect has been considered the advertising platform for Walmart’s ecommerce site. But these tests indicate that’s poised to expand.
Stores present a potent opportunity for Walmart. It has 4,700 big box locations around the U.S., and customers returned to them in droves last year. In 2022, 88% of the retailer’s customers visited Walmart stores.
Walmart Connect already has already dipped a toe into in-store advertising, with a TV wall, self-checkout ads and integrated marketing. The new pilots aim to take a step further.
“The next frontier of retail media is in-store experiences, and it’s one we’re excited to chart,” Whitney Cooper, head of omnichannel transformation at Walmart Connect, wrote in a blog post on the new tests. “But it’s still an emerging opportunity for us, as we continue to test what serves customers best and which solutions are scalable to Walmart’s size.”
Here’s a look at the two new offerings currently under beta test:
Walmart suppliers will be able to integrate product demos into campaigns across in-store and digital environments.
Product demos aren’t new to store floors, but Walmart Connect is seeking to give them an update that blends digital and physical experiences.
“Part of our test is how to enhance the omnichannel experience by bridging the physical back to digital: For example, by pairing a demo cart with QR codes that link back to a curated Walmart.com landing page so customers can find inspiration and shop their list all in one spot,” Cooper wrote.
Walmart is currently offering 120 demos at stores each weekend, and plans to scale to 1,000 by the end of 2023.
Walmart Connect will now offer advertising placements on Walmart’s in-store radio network. Suppliers will have the option to purchase ads by region or store, enabling targeting of key markets.
“This is the first time brands will be able to speak directly to Walmart customers through this medium,” Cooper writes. “These ads also create a new upper-funnel touchpoint for brand marketers and out-of-home (OOH) buyers to create awareness, because in-store audio is about connecting with customers wherever they are in the store — they don’t have to pass the brand in the aisle.”
With the tests, we’ll be watching for how this advertising is measured, and whether Walmart Connect is tracking impact across different types of formats, and not just a single campaign.