Retail media is growing even faster than the experts predicted.
“Retail media is following in the footsteps of search and social as digital advertising’s third big wave and has already established itself as a force,” says eMarketer in a new report on retail media in which they raised their multi-year forecast on the channel. “Built on a foundation of valuable first-party purchase data, contextually relevant ad experiences, and closed-loop reporting, retail media is seeing advertiser budgets quickly migrating in its direction.”
But there’s one of the critical differences between retail media and its two most prominent digital predecessors—paid search and paid social. While paid search has just a few publishers and paid social has a small handful, there are dozens of retailers now offering or planning to offer retail media soon.
This publisher proliferation creates additional complexity for marketers trying to simply wrap their heads around this emerging channel.
“The challenge is that there are so many new retail marketplaces available, as new retail networks launch all of the time,” says Matt Strietelmeier, Director, Marketplace Advertising at Stella Rising. “Each marketplace comes with its own nuances that are important to understand before recommending a significant investment.” (Read more from Matt and other retail media experts in our recent Retail Media Roundtable report.)
The Best Buy Media Network launched at the beginning of this year and boasts some pretty impressive numbers: 320 million visits to bestbuy.ca, 58 million visits to stores annually, and more than five million unique newsletter subscribers, allowing a vast array of targeting possibilities.
Heading into this important end-of-the-year shopping season, Best Buy Media Network is likely a no-brainer for every consumer electronics brand—or even marketers in adjacent categories—looking to reach Best Buy Canada’s valuable customers.
In today’s post, we speak with Tara Wilkinson about this year’s Q4 and what retail media marketers need to know about Best Buy Canada.
Five Questions with Best Buy Canada’s Tara Wilkinson
As Director of Marketing for Best Buy Canada, Tara is responsible for all aspects of retail marketing and growing the company’s ad solutions business, Best Buy Media Network. She leads a large, diverse team of talented marketing and advertising professionals based in Vancouver, Canada. A champion for digital transformation, agile marketing, and data & technology-driven marketing, Tara began her career with Bain & Company and then worked for numerous retailers and consumer products companies before joining Best Buy just over six years ago.
What is your role and how does that fit within Best Buy Canada’s retail media offering?
I lead Retail Marketing and retail media at Best Buy Canada, which includes our overarching promotional strategy, as well as our partner marketing. As the top destination for consumer tech in Canada, we carry all the major consumer electronics, computing, smart home, and appliances brands. We help brands connect with our customers to promote their product launches, grow sales and increase their brand awareness.
What should US brands know about Best Buy Canada?
Best Buy Canada is the number one preferred retailer for Consumer Electronics & Technology, with 2X higher preference than the closest competitor. We are a place of trust for consumers, receiving over 375M visitors to our stores and website each year. Our customers are technology enthusiasts that enjoy buying the latest & greatest tech and have an outsized impact on the tech purchases of their friends and family.
With one of the largest intent-based audiences in Canada, we have deep relationships with our customers and large, actionable, first-party data audiences that brands can tap into. In addition, we offer brands the opportunity to advertise when a customer is actively shopping, arguably the most relevant and valuable advertising moment.
Our Media Network offers a full suite of high-impact advertising and paid merchandising opportunities for brands that are sold in our stores and on BestBuy.ca. This includes programs like Sponsored Products (On-Site Search), Onsite Programmatic Display, Digital Out of Home, and Digital Media on other websites and channels leveraging our proprietary audiences.
How is this year’s Q4 season a bit different than recent years and what unique challenges does it pose for marketers?
Coming out of two years of restrictions, pent-up consumer demand to travel, socialize, have fun and make big life changes, is creating demand for new and different technology products. One of the interesting outcomes of the past two years is that it has forever changed people’s relationship with technology, moving our products from want to need. It has also catalyzed new norms like work-from-home.
This holiday, we believe that it will be more important for brands to have a strong promotional and advertising plan than it has been in the last couple of years. We’ll all have to work hard to earn customer spending and we expect to see a lot of hot deals on the top tech gifts.
What makes retail media an essential part of a brand’s holiday season media plans?
Retail media is growing rapidly and is predicted by the Boston Consulting Group to account for 25% of all digital marketing spending within the next four years. The biggest reason for this is that it works. Brands can reach consumers at highly influential moments in their shopping journey, target spending to high-performing audiences, and directly tie media to sales.
With the ability to leverage a retailer’s valuable first-party data for custom targeting, Retail media is an effective antidote to cookie-based audiences’ rapidly declining size and effectiveness. And with the spike in online shopping in the past two years, consumers now habitually do their browsing and research on retailer websites. 74% of consumers now cite retailer websites as the destination for product discovery, research, and shopping planning, which is a big reason why brands want to advertise there too.
What should marketers do to get ready for this year’s Q4?
I’d recommend four key things:
Plan. Build a strong promotional plan with your retail partners to get on gift lists and win sales.
Confirm. Review your product content to ensure you put your best foot forward, starting with your highest sales volume products. You only have a few seconds to make a good impression with online browsers.
Be thorough. List your full assortment with destination retail partners to maximize sales. The endless digital aisle lets customers quickly find the best product that matches their unique needs.
Drive interest. Invest in performance marketing. It is challenging for marketers to reach the right consumer with the right messages at the right time, and retail media helps with this. Here in Canada, advertisers have been slower than in the US, but we’re catching up with market leaders.
How does the Best Buy Canada and Skai partnership help brands achieve success?
Through Skai’s integration with Criteo, brands can easily participate in Best Buy Canada’s Sponsored Products program, a highly effective low-funnel conversion tactic that drives sales. It enables brands to secure premium placement on the digital shelf, boosting product visibility and capturing demand. It also provides valuable SKU-level insights back to product marketing teams via reporting.
If I were a brand, this is one of the first places I’d invest, and doing it through Skai is a very efficient approach for media planners.
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