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Digital and Retail are Merging. 5 Steps to Capitalize.

Executive Summary.


Unified Commerce is a Generational Frontier for consumer brands.  It is the merging of digital and retail, and it is happening at a blinding pace.


A minority of smart brands are grabbing land while it’s cheap.  It’s so powerful that in two years, most brands will wish they could go back and do the same.   


This new hybrid channel type is unsaturated, drives retail shelf turns, and opens up new strategies to grow retail accounts.  




Unified Commerce: The Next Digital Frontier.


Digital is growing faster - and differently - than most Consumer Product Founders and Executives understand.  Yes, Amazon is still excruciatingly important.  It’s critical.  But this is different.


There’s a hybrid digital that’s emerging, and we’re still early in its evolution.  It’s a merging of e-commerce and traditional retail, and it’s the fastest growing form of commerce by far.  


It's a form of Unified Commerce, the process whereby Retailers connect digital shopping experience with physical store inventory and delivery.  In other words, customers shop on Albertsons.com, just like they would on Amazon, but have their groceries picked from a local retail store.  


Here’s what the new digital commerce looks like:


  • 3rd Party Delivery (Instacart, DoorDash)

  • 1st Party Delivery (Whole Foods, Heinen’s)

  • Curbside Pickup (Kroger, Target, Albertson’s, etc)

  • In-Store Pickup (Trader Joe’s, GNC, Costco)


Now if you’re thinking, “This is retail.”  It is.


And if you’re thinking, “This is digital.”  It is.


Consumers are trending harder and harder toward convenience shopping.  That used to mean Amazon, but today, there are a growing number of options between e-commerce and in-store shopping.


This Hybridization of digital is actually both e-commerce and retail, and it is growing at a pace that rivals the Amazon land grab we saw well over a decade ago. 


If you’ve heard of, or leveraged, Retail Media (such as Kroger 8451), congratulations; you’re in the Unified Commerce game.  If you haven’t heard of Retail Media, it is the process whereby brands compete for sales from digital shoppers, which are then picked from the shelves of retail stores.


It is a digital competition for sales.  But because those sales are being picked from store shelves, it strategically grows Retail accounts.  There’s an exponential impact that comes from participating in the Unified Commerce experience.



What does this mean for Brands?


  • It’s an unsaturated channel type.  Unified commerce is still in its infancy. 

  • This new channel type, although digital, drives retail shelf turns.  

  • Brands now have access to precision strategies for growing retail store accounts.


Unified commerce means more revenue, but also drives precision growth in retail accounts.  This is a game of…


                 Digital Sales + Retail Shelf Turn


And all of this is orchestrated through Retail Media platforms such as Instacart, Kroger 8451, CVS Media, and many other platforms.  



How are smart brands capitalizing?  


  1. Precision management of multi-channel ad platforms like Instacart.  Optimized (Auto) Ad campaigns are out.  They’re becoming increasingly wasteful and the ROI is shrinking.  Shifting to manual campaigns can double the ROI.  

  2. Leveraging of retailer specific retail media platforms to target sales with specific retail accounts.  Examples include Albertsons Media Exchange, Kroger 8451, CVS Media, Target Roundel, etc.

  3. Platform specific SEO.  Think platform specific image and title optimization.  

  4. Leveraging Retail Media reporting to influence Retail Buyers.  Yes, this matters.  Showing Retail Buyers that you are willing to spend to turn products on the shelf is compelling.  

  5. Leverage Top of Funnel (Video) Marketing to reach new customers. Video Ads on Retail Media platforms performs historically well, sometimes even out-performing Sponsored Product Ads.



In the end, management of Unified Commerce, and Retail Media, demands the same precision as Amazon or any other Retail endeavor.  In fact, given how low competition is right now, those efforts have an exponential impact.  But it won’t be this way in a year.  As with any commerce frontier, great opportunities do not stay secret for long.



If you need help with any Retail Media platform - such as Instacart, Kroger, Criteo, Albertsons, Dollar Tree, CVS, etc. - please reach out to us at Growth@EliteCommerceGroup.com.  You can also find a complete list of Retail Media platforms for each retailer at https://www.elitecommercegroup.com/retail-media-platform-guide.

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