'Retail Media Unplugged' Is Here

Criteo’s Courtney Cochrane discusses the Path to Purchase Institute’s new video series as well as the state of retail media.
Cyndi Loza
Managing Editor, Member Content | profile
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retail media

The Path to Purchase Institute, in partnership with Criteo, is launching a new retail media video series to explore the latest trends, strategies and tactics for success. The six-episode “Retail Media Unplugged” series will take viewers behind the scenes with special guests to dig into their approach to navigating the constantly evolving realm of retail media. P2PI chatted with Courtney Cochrane, Criteo’s managing director, enterprise, Americas, to discuss the challenges and future of retailer media networks (RMNs) and what viewers can expect from the series.

P2PI: Can you tell us a bit about Criteo and how the company works with retailer media networks?

Cochrane: Criteo has been enabling retailers and marketplaces to scale monetization and media programs while serving brands and agencies for more than six years. Put simply, we’ve built a leading platform for retailers to manage their entire retail media business. We offer everything from on-site sponsored product and display advertising to off-site audience extension on the open internet. Criteo has one platform for all ad formats and demand sources, which reduces operational and tech management complexity and allows advertisers to easily optimize their campaigns.

We help retailers by providing the ability to acquire and retain targeted customers, but also scale their retail media businesses. Just as importantly, we have the experience and knowledge to work with retailers and RMNs across different types, sizes, categories and retail media experience levels. Client-centricity, or putting the client at the center of our focus, is how we approach each and every relationship. While the front end looks seamless and intuitive, on the back end, there is no “one size fits all” and that’s our strength.

P2PI: There has been a proliferation of retailer media networks in the past five years. Can you share a bit about how your company has seen retail media evolve?

Cochrane:We could go deep here, but I’d say the biggest and most obvious change has been that retail media has gone from an opportunistic play to an integrated part of digital strategies for retailers, brands and agencies. Retailers have watched Amazon and Walmart create multibillion-dollar, high-margin businesses and are looking to capitalize on the same opportunity with their own unique audiences. Brands have seen the incrementality and performance of retail media and are restructuring their strategies and budgets to better take advantage of these opportunities. Agencies have formed or expanded to help guide clients to success.

P2PI: What is the biggest challenge in retail media?

Cochrane: If you asked 10 different people this question, you’d get 10 different answers, naturally.My perspective is that managing complexity is the biggest challenge we face. With the kind of growth this industry is facing, everyone is moving so quickly that things are getting very complex, very quickly. This pertains to how to structure your retail media program, how to offer and access ad inventory as broadly yet simply as possible, how to measure consistently and uniformly, and more. But all of these roll up to complexity challenges.

P2PI: How do you see retailer media networks evolving in the next few years?

Cochrane: There are a lot of possible answers to this question, but I’ll highlight two key trends. First, we see even more retailers and marketplaces willing to get into the retail media game, especially coming from more specialized categories. Michaels, the leading arts and crafts retailer in North America, launched with Criteo this year and is a great example. Nordstrom, operating in the luxury segment, is another. Some of these will want to operate as their own RMN, while others prefer not to run their own media business and will enlist partners like Criteo to enable them to succeed. The reason [Boston Consulting Group] is forecasting the retail media industry to grow to $42 billion by 2025 is that it’s clearly successful!

Second, in order to capture the trade marketing budgets that are shifting online, networks will continue to expand their product offerings, both on-site and off-site. This will happen via expansion of existing solutions and a move to new, creative formats and targeting across the open internet. Reaching a shopper across their entire journey is more critical and more possible than ever before.

P2PI: What are you hoping listeners will gain from tuning into the “Retail Media Unplugged” video series?

Cochrane: We’re looking forward to sharing insights from industry players on the front lines of retail media evolution, partnered with the view Criteo has from operating with 175-plus retailers, 1,800-plus brand advertisers and 185-plus agency partners globally. A lot of the information out there about retail media is generalized, but with this series, you’ll be able to hear unique and specific perspectives. We’re very excited to be sponsoring this series to bring these perspectives to a broader audience.