PayComplete: Growing opportunities for branding in retail media

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Retail media has been flagged as the next big thing in marketing and companies like fintech PayComplete are driving forward new opportunities for brands.

The company recently launched its customisable and cloud connected cash management devices, which Angus Burrell, Strategic Partnerships Director at the firm, says could offer much-needed opportunities for brands and retailers to develop their retail media offering, and bring together how they advertise both in-store, and online…

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Angus Burrell, PayComplete

First, what is retail media and how it new?

Retail media is a growing advertising channel, typically used by multi-goods retailers like supermarkets and specialist chains to generate advertising revenue by allowing suppliers to promote goods in-store.

In a sense, it’s nothing new. Brands have long partnered with retailers for prominent placement, but a number digital trends have grown the category.

The first is entry of Amazon as a serious player in advertising. Over the 2010s, Alphabet and Meta became dominant in digital advertising, with Google dominating search and online display and Facebook dominating mobile.

By 2017, this ‘digital duopoly’ peaked at just under 55% of the entire digital advertising sector, but while digital ad spend has continued to rise, their share has declined ever since.

The duopoly hasn’t lost its share to other social media platforms. Snap, Twitter and  TikTok have strong advertising offerings but, it is Amazon that has emerged as the main challenger and the king of what has been dubbed ‘retail media’.

Amazon made over $30bn in ad revenue in 2022, more than it made from its popular Prime subscription service, making it the category leader, with about 75% of spending. Walmart sits in a distant second place with just shy of 8%, but the direction is clear – retail media, or e-commerce advertising, is media’s growth category.

What about privacy concerns?

Consumers are becoming more privacy-conscious, and with that, regulation and corporate behaviour are beginning to shift.

Most web browsers are already phasing out third-party cookies (the technology that powers personalised display advertising), Europe’s GDPR legislation has limited the scope for personalised digital advertising, and Apple’s decision to restrict ad targeting on their devices have all helped Amazon gain ground on the duopoly.

Like Alphabet and Meta, Amazon has a massive base of active customers (many of whom visit the site or use the app frequently) and extensive first-party data on these customers: a commercially valuable audience.

Being on the first page of Amazon is the new first page of Google, and brands are willing to pay a premium to be there.

So what does this mean for other retailers?

Of course, the likes of Amazon, and to a lesser extent, Target and BestBuy have scale. But any retailer with a sizeable footfall passing through stores, or attracting sizeable traffic to their websites can, in theory, build a retail network.

Retailers also have the advantage of direct relationships with many customers through loyalty programmes and strong first-party data that makes them potentially very valuable to advertisers.

The growing opportunity in retail media is one of the main reasons we have designed our new SPS range of automated cash acceptance devices with unique fully-customisable facia panels.

Retailers can choose to skin the new devices in keeping with the design of a store, so they are discreet and blend in – or they can carry a retailer’s branding or promotions – to be sold as brand-building ad space right next to the point of sale.

We expect this to appeal to multi-goods retailers, supermarkets, grocery stores, and convenience store chains.

In-store promotions have long been a part of the retail ecosystem, but what was a cottage industry, mainly peripheral to the core retail business, is becoming big business.

The decline of the Google /Facebook duopoly, increasing opportunities to advertise in-store and online, rapidly improving first-party retail data and developments in advertising technology that make it easier to sell and buy – all point to new revenue opportunities for retailers.”