Blog posts

In-store retail media in practice — Sponsored products

Teemu Kurri
Teemu Kurri
Co-founder, Chief Growth Officer
Connect via LinkedIn
Doohlabs publishes a lot of blog posts about the retail media phenomenon in general, especially describing how it is transforming retailers' and advertisers’ business models. We've been asked to start a new series about the practical applications of in-store retail media. We start this series now with a hot topic that combines online & in-store retail media: sponsored products.

One of the key enablers in retail media on e-commerce websites is the ability to use sponsored products. The product consumers see first when entering let’s say a grocery retailer’s website product category is usually there not by chance. The attention is bought by the advertisers by contract or by the highest bidder. The right product is selected from retailers' databases and presented to the retailer data based selected target group.

Digital signage & in-store retail media

On the other hand, In-store retail media has its legacy roots in digital out-of-home. Digital out-of-home is operated with digital signage systems. Digital signage systems have been developing for years on their own terms, and they excel in brand campaign management.

Basically, all digital signage systems have thus been designed to manage videos or sometimes animations. This kind of content requires a relatively lot of work and the cost of production is usually quite high. While videos and animated content surely remain one content category for brands in in-store media also, they will not be sufficient for producing retail media at scale. For that, we need sponsored products.

Enabling sponsored products in in-store marketing requires that you have a special in-store retail media-designed software, that can be connected to the retailer's data feeds to get the product info with up-to-date pricing and needed content assets for the ad.

In-store retail media is one-to-many

The other important capability you need from your platform is the ability to operate on audience data. Data-wise in-store retail media differs from online in one major respect; online is one-to-one while in-store is one-to-many. This means that to successfully target the in-store ads your system must be able to build audiences that interest advertisers from retailer data and distribute the ads to consumers at the right time on the right screens.  

"To be real-time also shortens the gap between online and in-store retail media"

Sponsored products will additionally enable in-store retail media to be real-time when needed. When we know with the help of retailer data or for example with computer vision what kind of audience we have in-store, we can automatically show the exact ad to a customer at the right time in the store. To be real-time also shortens the gap between online and in-store retail media and makes it easier to sell the for advertisers jointly.

Sponsored products are the bridge combining bidding and physical stores. Each product belongs to a product category. Product categories implicate screen locations in shops. Advertisers bid to be seen on the screen dedicated to the sponsored product in question.

In conclusion, traditional digital signage and sponsored products will live side-by-side in in-store marketing. Retailers and companies that manage in-store retail media for a retailer must be able to run them in tandem and preferably have unified campaign management for both. Building services and processes for only one of these in-store mediums will not sufficiently fulfil advertisers' in-store needs. When you are able in addition to combine these with online retail media, you have a full stack of services.


We at Doohlabs have been at the forefront of in-store retail media for several years now and have had the privilege to work with markets and customers that have shared our vision of how retail media will change the physical stores. Over the years, we have developed our platform from digital signage software to an end-to-end in-store retail media tool. Book a demo to learn more!

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Teemu Kurri

Teemu Kurri

Co-founder, Chief Growth Officer

Connect via LinkedIn