Despite economic headwinds, the IAB predicts that European retail media ad spend will reach €25 billion by 2026. However, it’s not a channel without its challenges.
Profitability is increasingly being called into question. Measurement is a minefield, thanks to any lack of standardisation across the many retailers that have now launched networks. And brands are being forced to rethink team structures as retailers create more full-funnel opportunities to engage consumers.
In our new Retail Media Thursdays (RMT) video series, we look to address the retail media knowledge gap by inviting our partners, clients, and industry experts to share the latest thinking, ideas, and best practices on the hottest topics in the retail media landscape.
Welcome to Skai’s Retail Media Thursdays (RMT)
Media industry stalwarts will be familiar with the pre-pandemic concept of “Media Thursdays,” those (almost) end-of-week drinks in a local pub where you can let your hair down and celebrate the week’s biggest achievements with your team. (A few too many pints and a 1 am Uber home are not a requirement but usually inevitable!)
And because we all know that the Brits love a good pub, we’re asking our guests to take us to their favourite London “local” to film.
If you’re a UK-based retail media marketer and would like to share your point-of-view over a pint, please contact me at email: email@example.com.
RMT, Episode 1: Alice Anson
In our first episode, we chat with Alice Anson at one of her favorite locals, The Clerk & Well in Clerkenwell, one of the oldest pubs in Central London.
Alice is the Digital Media Director (Onsite & Offsite) for Nectar360, the group that manages Sainsbury’s loyalty program and makes it easy for brands and suppliers to directly target customers via its retail media advertising offering.
Tune in as we sit down over a pint to discuss:
🛍️ Tackling the next wave of off-site and in-store media
📊 The importance of first-party data
📺 Nectar’s exciting partnership with Channel 4
🚀 Overcoming the challenges of attribution
Like what you saw? There’s more.
After watching this episode with Alice, we welcome you to check out our other episodes:
- 🎯 Episode 2: Antoine Jamet from Criteo
- 🌟 Episode 3: Jason Wescott from Xaxis
- 🛍️ Episode 4: Jonathan Lewis-Jones from Publicis Commerce
- 🌍 Episode 5: Larisa Dumitru from GroupM Nexus]
- 🛒 Episode 6: Gemma Spence from VMLY&R Commerce
- 💰 Episode 7: Ben O’Mahoney from Ocado Retail
Featured – State of Retail Media 2023 Industry Report
In this survey, Skai and BWG asked 167 retail media brand/seller marketers more than 35 questions covering key retail media trends and challenges.
Do you have a rock-solid retail media technology foundation?
As part of Skai’s omnichannel marketing platform, our Retail Media solution empowers brands to plan, execute, and measure digital campaigns that meet consumers when and where they shop. Built with best-in-class automation and optimization capabilities, our unified platform allows you to manage campaigns on 30+ retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Instacart all in one place.
Don’t forget to join us every Thursday for Retail Media Thursdays. Together, let’s embark on a thrilling voyage through the realm of retail media!
Welcome to Skai’s Retail Media Thursdays. With me, your host, David Sequeira, Managing Director here at Skai. Cheers. In this series, we’re going to be interviewing lots of retail media experts in bite-sized form, so you can enjoy learning while having that first coffee of the day. And in true Media Thursday style, we’ll be doing it over a pint in their local pub.
Welcome to our first guest. It is Alice Anson from Nectar360. Welcome, Alice. Thanks for having me. Can you just give us an introduction and tell us a bit about your role? Yeah. So I’ve been with Nectar360 for about four years now, and my role as digital media director is basically to look at all of our retail media that touches the Internet.
So be that our own site, our website, or be that off-site through digital display, social media, or partnerships with kind of data cleaverings, for example. Nectar360 basically works within Sainsbury’s business, looking at Sainsbury’s, Argos, Habitat, and Tu, and working with the brands to monetize our assets but also looks after the loyalty program which obviously fuels our first party data.
Okay. So before we get going on the questions, where are we today in your local and why did you pick this pub? So we’re at the Clerk & Well, just at the end of Leather Lane, which handily at the other end is where Sainsbury’s office is, so super good for me. And then this is actually a pub that I used to walk past when I first moved to London to get home and to for my first job.
So something that’s very familiar to me. And lovely Christmas decorations already up. There you go. Hey, right. There you go. So can you give us some background on Nectar360? How have you evolved, where have you come from, and also how does the relationship between an Argos and Sainsbury’s play out in practice? Yeah, so Nectar360 has been in many guises over the years, so you may remember as an AMIA company quite a few years ago called ITC. We were acquired by Sainsbury’s around four and a half years ago and we’ve now become what is Nectar360, a wholly owned part of the Sainsbury’s group. Our evolution has always been on this shopper marketing journey. So understanding the customer, having that great wealth of data through a loyalty program that then gives us the empowerment to talk to our brands and talk to our customers in really unique ways and be able to kind of build products along the way.
Sainsbury’s Insight Platform is a huge one and it’s been around for quite a while, and then obviously that’s what we’re working with you guys on around our e-commerce platform in partnership with Citrus Ad and then moving into the ever-evolving retail media landscape as we go through the next few years.
Right. And what’s your peek of the week? What’s the thing you’ve seen this week that’s really got you excited when you look at the retail media landscape? There’s loads going on at the moment. I think you don’t probably go a couple of days without getting a new article out there, but my peek of the week is probably actually the amazing work that we’ve done with Channel Four recently. So being able to combine our datasets to create audiences that are targeted through All 4 to relevant customers and then close the loop on sales that happen within our stores and online. So that’s definitely my peek of the week. Thank you.
So when did Nectar360 make their move into retail media and what really prompted it? So for me, retail media is not a new concept. It’s something that’s always been around, right? It’s just shopper marketing with data. And so we’ve always been a shopper marketing agency. But actually, probably around three and a half years ago, we saw that there was much more demand for the data side of things, much more demand for personalization and making sure that we’re being much more targeted from a customer perspective. So that’s when we started to pivot our services, obviously using the wealth of the data that we had, but looking to understand is it technology that we build, is it technology that we partner with, and how we kind of bring everything together. And for me, that’s really where Citrus Ad and the relationship there started, because those guys being able to make the information really visible, super friendly UI, etc. was great. And then obviously that has evolved now where we have platforms like yourselves that bring everything together in a super simple way that allows the brands to see exactly what data they’re using and how that’s returning on sales.
So what differentiates Nectar from the rest of the market? So Nectar is one of the biggest coalition kind of loyalty programs in the UK. So what I mean by that is you don’t just earn points at Sainsbury’s and Argos, you earn them at Esso, you earn them eBay, you earn them at American Express. And that means that we have this huge kind of wealth of data. We understand exactly where the customer is, what their life stages are, but also the other bits. The other kind of add-on pieces. So utilizing that data is a bit more difficult from DBA perspective and we have to be really careful with it. But the fact that we have this wealth of the program is immense for us, and that’s what sets us aside, really.
The industry is predicting that offsite and in-store media is going to be kind of the next wave. How are you guys approaching that Nectar? So from an offsite perspective, we’ve actually built our own digital trading platform, so that is proprietary tech DSP that plugs into Meta, Db360, and YouTube. So through that platform, both managed service and self-service, you can activate against our audiences and build, run, optimize and measure campaigns, which is a great kind of step forward. Through in-store media, we’ve probably been on a bit of a longer journey than some of the other retailers out there right now. Digitization of our stores, we’ve always had kind of big sick sheets, either an entrance or kind of place to stores. But within that store environment, it’s been something that’s probably been a little bit slower than other retailers because it’s a lot of money. Right. And particularly when you got a big store network. So it’s definitely something that we’re looking into this year. So hoping to have a few trials which has been opened up by space as a result of each of us asking the changing store layouts. For me, the big question at the moment is how it all comes together and what that looks like. And not just from a technology perspective, because I think that’s almost the easier part of the puzzle. But actually the attribution. And where do you attribute the sales to when you’ve got this kind of full funnel kind of digital footprint that is targeting the same customer at multiple points in their journey?
So Alice, you mentioned in your peek of the week about the partnership you mentioned with Channel 4. Can you tell us a bit more about that, the significance of it and what it really means for you as a business? So I think Channel 4 for us is a really interesting, it’s a huge move, right? I don’t know many people that don’t watch Channel 4 and you know, the majority of the UK now streaming more regularly. So our relationship with Channel 4 is around actually working with them and through Infosum, our data claiming partner to serve prebuilt audiences through the system that then the All 4 sales team can go out, talk to brands about and activate and then through the measurement kind of functionality that we have, we’re able to kind of close the loop. So we’re able to say, okay, you were watching Married at First Sight, maybe. [laughs] And you watched an advert for Coca Cola and then the next day you went into your local Sainsbury’s and you bought a four pack of Coke. And that we can say is actually a direct result of you seeing maybe the Christmas can on the Christmas advert, for example. So that’s really exciting for us. I think, you know, Channel 4 have been an amazing partner throughout the whole process. They’ve wanted to close the gap from a retail data perspective, which they’ve not had. And I think it’s really interesting that now that broadcasters are actually setting up and recognizing the importance of retail data within what was their already existing kind of, you know, demographic datasets.
How do you see the partnership with Skai playing out? What do you see the value between, you know, the Citrus the Skai and the Nectar relationship? So we talk quite a lot actually to retailers across the world about kind of where this is going. And one of the things that they say to me quite regularly and something I really agree with is actually the people that are the simplest to work with and the ones that are going to win. And when we kind of started the conversations about the relationship with Skai, the thing that came out kind of consistently was this is really simple, right? This is simple from a brand and an agency perspective because we’re showing up where they already encounter us. And for me talking candidly, I was like, This is £ signs. Right, because they’re already in this platform, they’re going to see how we perform versus other people and it’s just going to make it a lot easier for everyone to work with. I think the other thing to me, thinking about how the Skai relationship will play out is actually learning from you about the areas that we still have to develop in. So I know that when we’ve had demos looking at the dashboarding and pacing and stuff like that, like that’s not even in the Citrus platform right now. So thinking about actually how do we start to stretch and grow each other and share learnings?
Final question on this. How important is first party data to the market, to you, to your consumer, and to the marketers themselves? I think it’s vital. Hopefully, or at some point, cookies will be deprecated. Who knows, that keeps moving, never-ending feat. But that will mean that actually the first party data sets become even more crucial there. I think also when you combine that with, you know, the situation we’re going through at the moment in the UK, cost of living crisis, actually everyone’s going to have to personally tighten the belt buckles, but so are the brands, right and being able to show that actually your marketing dollars are going into something that is truly a customer or a customer you want to capture is really vital. So for us, it’s absolutely key. When you talk about our consumers or our customers, again, it’s really important to them. Is it’s a currency now and we see that more and more through kind of platforms that we are, etc. And I think as guardians of first party data, we always have to think about where does the customer get the value from that actually, how are we also giving back to that customer? Be it through incentives so that Nectar prices, you give us your data when you get kind of special value from us and that’s going to become increasingly important as consumers become more aware of actually how that data is being used.
Yeah. All right. So now we’re going to do a bit of a quickfire. Pub or wine bar? Wine bar. Red or white wine? Red. Tequila or Sambuca? Tequila. Really? G&T or pint of beer? G&T. And finally, what’s your best hangover care? It’s a bizarre one, I like a salad, a really big salad, because it’s got the water in it so it rehydrates you! Fair enough, and mine’s a tuna melt which is actually as weird. Yeah. So there you go. Thank you for today, Alice. It’s been really great having you on and yeah, thanks for being our first Retail Media Thursdays guest. Thanks for having me. Stay tuned for more Retail Media Thursdays with Skai. Thanks, Lizzie. Next time.
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