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Online and in-store retail media – how do they differ?

Teemu Kurri
Teemu Kurri
Co-founder, Chief Growth Officer
Connect via LinkedIn
We at Doohlabs are often asked how do the online and in-store media differ and what do they have in common? This article aims to clarify this subject and point out some of the key features of both retail mediums.

What are the differences and similarities between retail media online and in-store?

The basic setting is the same. You have suppliers and brands who need to be seen by the buying customers to compete in the marketplace. In both channels, you need the automatization for presentation and mechanism for monetization.

There’s a handful of retail media platforms that answer the growing needs of retailers in the online world. These platforms are useful for retailers who want to monetize their online audiences with little or of their own time & resources. However, as Forrester pointed out in their Retail media report, they don’t cater a solution for omni-channel use, only for online.

When building retail media for in-store, the most important capability is to have the audience inventory – which customer groups we can reach in which shops at any given time. Doohlabs platform is built to utilise f.ex. retailers loyalty data to automate the audience targeting and empower a successful in-store retail media business. The key is to integrate the in-store network into an integral part of omni-channel marketing strategy.

Organizing the media sales on top of this technology stack completes the needed tools for successful in-store retail media. This stack can include product databases (PIM) and relevant marketing asset systems (DAM).

The channel difference

The distribution channel is the most visible difference for consumers between the two. Online, advertisers have onsite and offsite retail media to reach the wanted target groups as sponsored listings and brand advertising. In stores, advertising is distributed through digital screens in the shops.

The in-store digital signage screens used for retailers own marketing purposes are transformed into retail media use at an accelerating speed and new ones are being installed as their ROI with retail media is now seen so obvious.

Yet, the main differentiator is defined by the amount of audiences these retail media industries reach.

In-store retail media reach surpasses online

Firstly, the size of the audience is much larger in-store than it is for online. Grocery retailers typically have a tenfold reach of customers in their physical stores than they have in online channels – web or mobile.

Brick & mortar audience is also often much more engaged. They spend more time in shops and are exposed to advertising a lot longer. As space is limited, there is also a very limited amount of advertising screens visible making it easier for a brand to get noticed compared to let’s say, a sponsored listing in a web store.

And of course, in online the competition is fierce with the bigger and smaller competitors all over the world just one click away. Brick & mortar customers are typically very loyal when they have selected their shop of choice, they tend to stick with it.

RETAIL MEDIA MARKET doubled from $20 billion in 2020 to $40 billion in 2021

Local & loyal audience

Locality and loyality are big assests. Brick & mortar retailers already have the audience for whom to advertise – Online retailers often need to prove themselves worthy for a visit when customers choose where to shop.

Retailers often have lots of under-utilised data about their brick & mortar audiences through their loyalty programs that can be utilized with an advanced in-store retail media solution.

Finally, all retailers in the future will be somehow omni-channel. Shoppers expect to have an excellent customer experience regardless of channel, or even when they change it unexpectedly. The winners will be those who can combine online & in-store retail media into a coherent entity.

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Teemu Kurri

Teemu Kurri

Co-founder, Chief Growth Officer

Connect via LinkedIn