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How to kick-start & scale your in-store retail media business?

Teemu Kurri
Teemu Kurri
Co-founder, Chief Growth Officer
Connect via LinkedIn
In our line of business – the booming in-store retail media – we see markets & customers in various stages of their development cycle. Some customers are just acquiring their first screens in stores while others are planning to tenfold the number and trying to figure out how to organise the sales team. We acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all guidance for these situations and share our experience and insights with you in this blog post.

Doohlabs originates from the Nordic countries. The screens  have been in-store for a long time here. Screens in stores were first used mainly for retailers' own advertising and but as soon as the brands noticed the force of in-store advertising the demand for first in-store retail media solutions grew. Many retailers now have their retail media operations up & running with thousands of screens and they are expanding the number rapidly as we speak.

As we have been involved in all these stages, we feel that we can ease your organisation's efforts in rising to the next level.

Level 1: Only a few or no screens in stores

This is the situation in surprisingly many markets still today. The reasons for this can be historical and it might just be that there has not been a forerunner in the area to follow. The market the retailer operates on can still be a digitally very advanced one and the retailer can have advanced e-commerce or even online retail media operations going on without any in-store activity.

It may feel very difficult for the retailer to start investing in both hardware & software with no clear vision of the business case and operating models. You may also wonder who is going to sell the media? Should you hire a media sales agency or rely on the growing programmatic markets to create needed demand?

The most important thing for a retailer in this situation is to have real-world experiences on what it means to run in-store operations. For this, you need a few things. For a successful trial or pilot, you’ll need to have:

  • A few stores ready to install a couple of screens per store
  • Some basic store-level data to create audiences
  • A software partner who can provide an in-store retail media platform

With these in place, you are ready to start experimenting with in-store retail media.

The most important thing for you to learn at this stage is to find out which business models suit your organization the best. These models are explained in detail at the next level.

Level 2: A moderate screen network

There are several retail chains that have already installed a moderate screen network but do not actually use it for in-store retail media. These chains can be located around the world but most typically you can find them in Europe.

The use of the screens in these chains is centered mainly on promoting retailers’ own products and services.  This has led retailers to doubt their investment in the hardware. They are stating questions like: Are the screens nothing more than a cost item? Do the screens bring money in? How can we estimate the effectiveness of advertising?

The rise of in-store retail media has changed their situation dramatically. They are now in a forerunner position to utilise their asset to create a substantial new high-margin revenue stream for their organization.

These retailers can now choose & mix from several business models to optimise their in-store audience monetisation business. They can:

  1. Sell the audiences directly to advertisers either by their own sales team or with a media sales partner.
  2. Offer a self-service for bigger brands & active trade partners. Allow them access to your audience inventory and let them control their own advertising in stores.
  3. Connect to programmatic marketplaces to get their audiences on sale. Programmatic in-store is still only taking its first steps. It’s going to be big, but you need to mix it with other models for now to create a critical mass.

The perfect mix for each retailer can differ substantially. It depends on what kind of resources the retailer has and how innovative its partners are. For example, an active and forward-looking shopper marketing partner may be able to take on many of the tasks for themselves or a modern omnichannel media sales company may help the retailer to get started while they build their own media organisation.

Level 3: In-store retail media network ready to scale

There aren’t too many of these retailers yet, but the situation is changing rapidly. The most innovative retailers have already built their network for years and they have an extensive screen network often even supported by audio advertising also. They’ve found suitable business models for their sales and built their own organisation to develop the business further. The key question for these types of retailers is how they do can scale the business to the next level.

Most screens in level 2 stores are in places where store visitors see them most often or with the highest possible probability. The screen sizes vary, and they can easily be up to 65 or even 80 inches on supermarket isles. These high-visibility screens are very versatile and suited for many needs from brand advertising to tactical.

The biggest growth in level 3 can be achieved by adding screens (or more typically double screens as in the picture) to each cap-end. This creates new advertising possibilities for brands in each category. As a brand has prime visibility with bright vivid colourful ads running, the possibility that the customer picks just the right product instead of dozen others rises substantially.

We see our customers easily 5X to 10X the number of screens in their stores. This is especially visible in various types of hypermarkets where the sold items ranging from groceries to sports clothing or electronics. There are countless advertisers wanting to get as near to the shopping decisions with their ads as they possibly can.

The screen ads in stores will shortly begin to have also multisensory elements. Besides video, they’ll be delivering experiences with sounds, lighting & scents. This creates totally new possibilities for brands to get on top of consumers’ minds and opportunities for retailers to further build their media business.


We at Doohlabs have been in forefront of in-store retail media for years now and have collaborated with various retailers in all kinds of situations. Our in-store retail media platform and expertise can help retailers at all levels to reach the next step. We can also enable retailers' partners to serve their customers better with our technology. Book a free consultation meeting with us to see how we can work together.

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Teemu Kurri

Teemu Kurri

Co-founder, Chief Growth Officer

Connect via LinkedIn

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