Stephen Shepherd, dunnhumby: “Everyone is talking about retail media”

“Everyone is talking about retail media”

Forecast by IAB Europe to reach €25 billion ad spend in Europe by 2026 and heralded as the third digital advertising revolution, retail media has emerged as one of the year's hottest and most talked about opportunities. 

In the latest episode of our Identity Architects podcast, InfoSum's Director, Customer Success, Amy Tranter, sat down with Stephen Shepherd, Media Strategy and Partnerships Director at dunnhumby, to discuss retail media, a customer-first approach, collaboration, and much more.

“On Linkedin pretty much every other post is talking about retail media, but having those conversations, there isn't a right or wrong answer yet for retail media. But it is a scale in industry, and the way to work through is collaboration. [...] Bringing it all together, is the big conversation of the next year.”

The full retail media opportunity is unlocked when various organizations bring together various pieces of the data puzzle. This enables organizations to understand the full customer journey and deliver rich data-driven experiences across multiple touchpoints. Retailers, brands, media owners, and data owners can all benefit from the various retail media opportunities, but where all have a role to play, but with so much opportunity, how do organizations balance priorities? 

“In retail media, there's so much you could do. [...] And the bit here is actually what you could do versus what you should prioritize. So I think, it's not something that I would lose sleep over but it's certainly the thought process of all the things that you want to prioritize and which do you do first and why do you do it and how do you scale because again, if you want to be successful, that's what you need to do.”

The true retail media opportunity isn’t just in unlocking greater value and new revenue streams for the businesses involved, it also has the potential to benefit the consumer when done right. How is dunnhumby achieving this?

“The purpose that we have at dunnhumby is about improving lives so helping businesses engage with customers as individuals. So as we kind of evolve as a business and retail media is perfectly positioned to think about the customer and put the customer at the center of everything you're doing. It's not just about showing ads or reach. It's actually showing relevant ads and using that data in a way that benefits the customer. I think, personally, that's the thing that really inspires me is with everything we do, how do we make it customer first.”

The retail media space is evolving at a rapid pace. We have recently seen a convergence between retail media and connected TV (CTV), with dunnhumby recently announcing its partnership with ITV, one of the biggest UK broadcasters. 

“We're always looking for great partners to scale and [...] ITV have similar objectives, so we have good alignment there. For us, it's about the right message, the right customer and the right time so that's what we're aiming to deliver. [...] We often talk about win-win-win at dunnhumby which is about winning for the customer, winning for the retailer, and winning for the advertiser or rather CPG.”

The combination of two data-rich industries, retail media and CTV, is incredibly exciting. Unlocking more value from an organization's first-party data has become increasingly important to organizations against a backdrop of cookie deprecation.

“Google with the various announcements around the deprecation of the cookie have to a certain degree, probably unintentionally, really helped the industry have some significant thoughts and developed strategies, in particular, the retail sector is in a really strong position, as we move towards cookieless. [...] dunnhumby and probably lots of other retailers have been preparing for some time. I think in reality a lot of retailers, and obviously working with the likes of InfoSum, are getting into a really good position. As cookieless comes into being, there are solutions already in the market ready to go. Yes, there's challenges, but I think the industry now had such a long time to think about it that particularly in retail I think most people are in quite a good position.”

As with any new opportunity, we see a combination of first-mover organizations that innovate and lay the groundwork for others to follow, and other organizations that are unsure how to get started or the role they can play. For the latter, it's about assessing the current landscape and identifying the potential opportunity for them and their customers 

“I think if you're adopting a customer mindset, you have to think about what is good for the customer. I think the challenge in the industry is actually not necessarily taking the easy option which could be about lots of advertising saturating whether it's a website or a store with advertising, but making it relevant and making it focused on the customer, which may not be the easiest option. But actually [...] if you're delivering customer first and relevant targeted solutions., that's what your customers will engage with. [...] It's not just about delivering whether it's media revenues or other objectives make it about the customer I think is the key.”

So true. Thanks, Stephen, for the chat!

InfoSummit: Retail Media

In our inaugural InfoSummit event, we examined the meteoric rise of retail media, why every brand, retailer, media owner and agency must pay attention to it, and how it is converging with other media, such as connected TV.

At the end of February at ITV’s offices in London, we were joined by Harriet Perry, Chief Media and Partnerships Director at OMG UK, for a fireside chat, followed by a panel discussion with Jayesh Rajdev, Controller of Advanced Advertising at ITV, Oliver Shayer, Director of Omni Channel & Media Planning at Boots, Stacy Gratz, Regional Managing Director UK at dunnhumby, and Pete Robins, Special Projects at the7stars.

These industry experts discussed their retail media experiences to date, the opportunity that exists today and their predictions for the future. Read more about it: https://www.infosum.com/blog/infosummit-retail-media.