It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again — the holiday season! Retailers have spent this year once again navigating shifting shopper behavior, which they will certainly incorporate into their holiday plans.

In 2021, we have seen a record number of inquiries on retail media (the strategy and process of retailers monetizing their website, first-party data, and stores) because of those shifting consumer behaviors. The interest in retail media isn’t totally new. It was first spurred by Amazon’s billion-dollar ad business several years ago. Since the pandemic, retail media has taken center stage as a revenue and profit driver for retailers because of the shift toward more digital buying behaviors.

The holiday season matters a lot to retailers, but it is also a busy and important time for media businesses. Most advertisers spend a significant portion of their ad dollars in the last quarter of the year. So, retailers with a media network should be ready to compete for ad dollars during the holiday season.

Three Holiday Tips For Retailers With A Media Network

  • Test innovative mobile app ad formats. Demand from brands for mobile app ads is relatively low, per most retailers we have spoken with. The reason is largely attributed to ads on mobile apps closely reflecting the ads on desktop and not accounting for the on-the-go nature of mobile app usage. In fact, in our latest Forrester Wave™ evaluation of sell-side retail media solutions, we found that most retailers only offer basic search ads within mobile apps. A few retailers have had success with offering mobile app ad formats based on factors like the customer’s proximity to a store and promotional campaigns. What to do: Retailers should use the holiday season to serve consumers ads that are locally relevant or help with in-store decision-making.
  • Incorporate shipping time frames into your ads. We all remember last year’s rush to order holiday gifts with plenty of time to account for delivery lags. And unfortunately, supply chain hurdles still exist this year that could disappoint customers looking to get their orders in time for the holidays. What to do: Retailers can set expectations early with customers through the ads they serve on their sites and apps with information on how quickly the product can get to the customer’s door or options for curbside pickup.
  • Partner strategically with brands. Retail media isn’t just a new platform for brands to buy media from — it’s a realignment of the retailer/brand partnership. Retail media has empowered brands with ad opportunities that tie back to sales and revenue, and it has opened greater opportunities for customer and sales data access for brands. What to do: Retailers should use this holiday season to partner with brands on audience development and product innovation that will help retailers deliver a better experience to their customers and deliver better media performance for brands.