Retail media, a market of the future for mass distribution

Is the world of retail media in crisis? Carrefour and Fnac-Darty banners have launched their own retail media platform in recent months, Carrefour in June 2021 via “Carrefour Links” and Fnac-Darty last month, with their new “MyRetailink” offering. For brands and agencies, this is the promise of a more detailed measurement of conversion data. Retailers, for their part, see it as a business opportunity and a way to capitalize on their own data.

Criteo, technology partner of Carrefour and Fnac-Darty, has made retail media one of its pillars of growth. Criteo has more than 120 of the largest international retailers in its portfolio, Geoffroy Martin, Criteo General Manager and EVP Growth Portfolio, tells . If this segment of digital advertising is gaining popularity, “there is still an effort to educate the market,” said the latter. In a nutshell: “The pre-digital form of retail media is the advertising at the head of the gondola that we see in supermarkets,” adds the manager.

Amazon has been using this method of targeted advertising for about ten years. The American e-commerce giant noted in the 2010s that more than 50% of Internet searches for purchasing purposes started in its market, Geoffroy Martin reports. Therefore, to monetize all this traffic, Amazon was inspired by what Google was doing with sponsored links. Since then, major retailers have jumped on the bandwagon. According to McKinsey figures, the retail media market reaches $ 17 billion in 2021 (excluding Amazon and China), and is expected to grow globally by around 20% each year, reaching $ 32 billion in 2024.

“The new frontier of advertising technology”

Criteo established its retail media division in 2019, following the acquisitions of startup HookLogic in 2016, then France’s Storetail in 2018. “Initially, our business model was to make techno and install it on e-merchant websites. Then we are going to survey the brands by selling the locations on e-merchant sites, ”explains Geoffroy Martin. Later, Criteo went on to show formats with CPM. The company is now working on these two fronts and offers self-service to advertisers. “With an agnostic platform, we bring technology to merchants, brands and agencies,” says the General Manager.

While retail media is on track to establish itself as “the new frontier of ad technology,” according to Geoffroy Martin, Criteo expects at least 55% annual growth in its retail media division.

The health context certainly has something to do with it. “With Covid, we had a qualitative leap of about three to four years in e-commerce penetration,” says Geoffroy Martin. The health crisis and its confinement episodes have boosted online commerce among all categories of the population, even among older consumers, and have allowed hybrid models such as drive for food to take off.

The prospect of stopping third-party cookies has also highlighted the benefits of retail media and the use of proprietary data from commercial sites. Geoffroy Martin maintains that Criteo is working on the notion of “privacy by design”, and ensures a “very high level of compliance” with data protection regulations. Therefore, online advertising should take more into account in the future “audiences, context and cohorts, than individuals”, Geoffroy Martin sums up.

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