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How the Kroger-Albertsons Merger Would Affect Retail Media

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If the Kroger-Albertsons merger ultimately goes through, it would create not just a new supermarket giant but a giant retail media network.  StreetFight checked in with Henri Lellouche, VP of retail and partnerships at digital promotions company Quotient, to discuss the implications of the deal for the retail media sector and its many brand advertisers. 

What does the Kroger-Albertsons merger mean for retail media?  

The Kroger-Albertsons merger corners about 19% of the U.S. grocery market, a colossal deal for the industry as more retailers continue to introduce their own retail ad networks to compete for a finite amount of advertising dollars. 

The deal has created an opportunity for the industry to rally behind a centralized retail media network, which ultimately leads to standardized measurement abilities that help deliver high-quality digital campaigns. For an industry that’s growing increasingly muddy by the day with more and more players entering the fray, this deal can only push retail media networks in the right direction.  

How do brands navigate the many retail media networks available? Does the space have a walled garden problem?  

New walled gardens have certainly emerged within the retail media space as retailers opt to build their own ad platforms and closed ecosystems. This will place a burden on advertisers who don’t have the resources to run campaigns across a growing number of platforms. 

Even large CPG brands typically only have the resources to manage about seven to 10 networks at a time with the very largest receiving the most attention and spend. This has left brands in a predicament, especially as budgets shrink due to economic uncertainties, where they must pick and choose which retail media networks will be most beneficial in helping them drive volume and share in addition to ensuring they are spending ad dollars fairly and equitably. 

Now more than ever, brands should be ensuring that they’re effectively reaching their target audiences across the multiple touchpoints of a consumer’s path to purchase. 

Is it possible that there could be a single retail media network or DSP that coordinates among all of them?  

Programmatic advertising will always have room for multiple players, but the key differentiator will be the first retail media network that enables activations and standardizes measurements in an efficient manner, a network of networks if you will, allowing for the rest of the industry to then follow suit. Brands need an aggregated retail media network that is deeply engrained in the retail ecosystem. 

These networks not only need to measure attribution of advertising but also attribute credit to any associated coupon promotion—if that is the call to action—in order to enable more effective collaboration and drive better outcomes for brands, retailers, and consumers.  

What advice do you have for brands navigating the RMN landscape?  

As the retail media landscape continues to evolve, today’s brands should be taking advantage of the retail ad networks that deliver the widest reach and most available insights possible for their digital campaigns. Over time, further consolidation within the industry will push the better product to the forefront, minimizing the number of retail media networks within the space to ultimately help brands deliver more effective and targeted advertising.

Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Joe is an ad/martech veteran who has covered the space since 2015. You can contact him at [email protected]