How retail media and mobile helps brands reach their customers like never before

Rodrigo Alier, Global Executive Director, Ads at food delivery app, Glovo, looks at the potential for retail media to help brands engage with consumers.

When you see the names and logos of big brands on billboards or ads during big sports events, it doesn’t exactly seem like they’re struggling to engage with their customers – or that they worry much about personalising their marketing efforts. But the truth is that, much like smaller businesses, brands need to make a concerted effort to build personalised and impactful user journeys.

Research from Gartner shows that brands lose 38 per cent of customers because of poor marketing personalisation efforts. One factor driving this is changing customer behaviour and expectations. In 2021, for instance, McKinsey & Co. reported that around 75 per cent of consumers tried a new shopping behaviour in the preceding 18 months, and that 80 per cent of consumers intended to hang onto these behaviours.

Today, customers dont necessarily commit to one brand for life – they are constantly pivoting from brand to brand, reacting to factors like price, brand purpose, product development and, of course, personalisation.

According to McKinsey & Co. 71 per cent of customers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions to them. With 74 per cent becoming frustrated when this doesnt happen. But brands face an uphill challenge in trying to maintain customer engagement and loyalty. Not just because of a changing consumer or an increasingly competitive market, but from the fact that data privacy is continuing to grow in 2023 as brands adapt to cookieless personalisation.

But despite these challenges, this is a period of opportunity for brands to harness first-party data to build more personalised customer journeys. Namely, through a combination of retail media and mobile.

Why retail media on mobile can make brands unstoppable
Mobile marketing has always been fertile ground for reaching new demographics and customers. According to Prosper Insights & Analytics, 29 per cent of Gen-Z and 30 per cent of Millennials are motivated to start an online search through mobile websites and apps. While according to a YouGov study, two in five global shoppers use their phones to purchase items online every day.

But what can take mobile commerce to the next level for brands is retail media. There is an enormous opportunity that comes from a world that has traditionally been based on interest (via traditional search engines) converting into one based on real intent, where real transactions are happening (retail media). With the ability for brand advertisers to use platforms to directly build a relationship with the customer in a location where they are traditionally more receptive, their personalisation efforts are turbocharged. Something that is supported by the fact that retail media typically delivers three times the return on advertising spend (ROAS) than traditional channels.

How brands can get started with retail media
From the chip-and-pin machine right through to the TikTok account, there have been a number of new tools and trends that brands have had to get to grips with in order to maximise business impact and personalise customer reach.
Retail media is no different, and if business owners are to make the most of the promised ROAS, then they need to do robust upfront planning and make sure their investments are well thought through and planned out.

To this end, below I cover some key tips to think about to maximise the retail media and mobile partnership:

Do your homework
Knowing your audience is key. The level of personalisation involved with retail media requires pinpoint targeting from the get-go to ensure you’re speaking to the right audience. Remember, this is one strategy that will benefit more from what you put into it, so think about the platforms you are choosing to advertise on, and then the story you build there.

Align your retail media goals to the platform
Ultimately, your goal here should be to build your intended category on the platform you’re using. What, therefore, are the capabilities on offer? You should have a clear idea of whether the platform potential at your fingertips leans more towards awareness or building a strictly sales-driven campaign. Once you know this, you can start to build your brand accordingly and ensure it resonates with the platform for maximum ROAS.

Scale your investment…and be patient
Retail media might represent a huge area of opportunity, but that doesn’t mean brands have to bet big from the outset. You should test the waters and tackle it in bite size pieces, with some low-level investments for starters. Compare to traditional retail-based channels as you go, and measure and optimise, sticking close to the results you see in real time. Then once the time and ROAS is right, begin to scale your investment up. Results shouldn’t be expected on day one, but when they do arrive, they should be learned from and optimised.

The wider personalisation ecosystem
In what is an exciting new arena for customer relationships, retail media can keep brands relevant and help them achieve the same levels of customer engagement that got them to where they are in the first place. Big brands might sometimes be, unfairly, portrayed as too big to fail, and as a result failing to listen to their customers. But, as we’ve explored, listening to them and building personalisation for them is integral to their success.

Retail media is how this happens. Now, the next step for brands is to look for the right partner to make the most of this enormous opportunity and the right marketplace to stage it. Then, in the long-term, this level of personalisation will need to be incorporated into customer satisfaction journeys and retention. After all, for brands to keep driving revenue and success, a customer relationship isn’t about the short-wins – but the long-term journey you take together.