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The retail media landscape is continuing to grow, as more marketplaces stand up networks and add new advertising capabilities for brands seeking to reach consumers while they shop. This week, Instacart is adding new self-serve promotions, while BJ’s is launching the industry's newest retail media network.
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Instacart Promotions adds coupons, Stock Up & Save
Instacart announced new ad capabilities that are designed to help brands offer more savings to consumers across its grocery marketplace.
Instacart Promotions will provide self-service access to all brands so that they can launch new deal structures, promotions, and incentives with their Instacart Ad campaigns. Currently available in open beta through Instacart Ads manager, this allows emerging and established brands alike to expand their offerings across the marketplace.
The result is that consumers will see more promotions, coupons and deals that are “tailored to them” across the marketplace, Instacart said. The new “savings experience” is set to appear directly on product item cards and before checkout.
Initially, Instacart Promotions will provide two structures for promotions:
- Coupons ("buy X units, save $Y")
- Stock Up & Save ("Spend $X, Save $Y")
Going forward, Instacart plans to add Free Gifts and Buy One, Get One structures, as well. These will help brands run "free sample" programs that help to attract new customers and serve personalized discounts to different customer segments, such as "new to brand" or "new to category."
“With the average cost of groceries going up, we're proud to unlock more ways for consumers to save money and connect with their favorite brands and retailers via Instacart," said Ali Miller, VP of ads product at Instacart, in a statement. "With the launch of our new Instacart Promotions, all of our brand partners now have the ability to set up coupons and promotions that can drive meaningful business results while also passing on more savings opportunities to consumers.”
Instacart said Athletic Brewing, General Mills, Sola Company, and Wells Enterprises (maker of Halo Top) are already pairing Instacart Promotions with ad formats such as Sponsored Product and Display.
"As we look ahead to Dry January, we're adding more coupons to our campaigns so consumers can discover our brews and save as they shop on the Instacart Marketplace," said Dermot Woods, omnichannel marketplace manager at Athletic Brewing.
This is the latest in a series of ad upgrades from Instacart this year, as the company builds out retail media capabilities that bolster its marketplace. CEO Fidji Simo said earlier this year that advertising is the fastest growing part of the business, and boasts high margins compared to grocery delivery.
In recent months, Instacart has:
Instacart Promotions. (Courtesy photo)
BJ’s launches retail media program
BJ’s Wholesale Club just became the latest grocery business to launch a retail media program. The club on Thursday announced the launch of BJ’s Media Edge, which was created with Microsoft PromoteIQ. BJ’s said it wants to provide brands and advertisers with increased capabilities to leverage first party data to reach its 6.5 million members.
“This new program builds upon our existing digital marketing offerings with a customizable solution for brand partners to influence our members at every stage of their purchase journey, all while driving measurable returns,” said Monica Schwartz, EVP and Chief Digital Officer at BJ’s Wholesale Club, in a statement.
The program offers an interface where brands can buy onsite and offsite media, reach members on BJ’s properties and target audience members to influence purchase behavior. Additional offerings include social media extensions and real-time analytics. Closed loop measurement reporting capabilities are also in development.
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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.