The Friday Checkout is a weekly column providing more insight on the news, rounding up the announcements you may have missed and sharing what’s to come.
Doesn’t it seem like everyone in the grocery industry has a retail media network these days? It has become a lucrative business for grocers and their e-commerce partners — just look at Instacart’s ads business. But the stakes are getting higher as the retail media landscape becomes saturated.
It’s no longer just enough to enter the retail media space, either in-house or through partners, as grocers and their e-commerce providers are now looking to differentiate their ad offerings.
A string of announcements over this past week highlighted that companies are fine-tuning their retail media operations with offerings they can position as competitive advantages.
Kroger unveiled that its retail media unit, Kroger Precision Marketing (KPM), is working with software development firm Scope3 to measure carbon emissions associated with offsite media campaigns placed through KPM. The grocer claims it will conduct the first carbon emissions measurement study for retail media.
“The digital economy is energy-intensive – but we can reduce the impact today by eliminating wasted ad impressions,” KPM Senior Vice President Cara Pratt said in the announcement.
Kroger also announced this week plans to launch a new programmatic offering this fall with The Trade Desk to “decouple” audience, inventory and measurement data, sister site Marketing Dive reported, noting that decoupling first-party data allows that information to be used for more applications.
As Kroger looks to be a leader in the retail media space, other companies are also bolstering their retail media networks to stay competitive. On Thursday, Instacart said it’s working with The Trade Desk to improve programmatic ads — the automated buying and selling of digital ad space — for select CPGs, with the goal of making it easier for the brands to connect with high-intent consumers through more data-driven media buys.
Giant Eagle announced this week its tie-up with Chicory allows its in-house retail media network clients to have access to commerce-enabled ad tactics that target “high-intent shoppers” within off-platform recipe content.
As retail media evolves in the grocery industry and the connections deepen between shoppers, brands and grocers, companies need to remember that the retail media space is still a fragmented one fraught with differing data collection methods and a growing list of players. Just like consumers don’t want to have 10 different streaming platform subscriptions, grocers need to be mindful that CPGs will likely feel the same way about their ad spending.
With consolidation likely on the horizon for retail media networks, now’s the time for grocers to focus on creating standout offerings.
In case you missed it
Instacart to release first earnings results
Just a few weeks after going public, the grocery technology company plans to publish its first quarterly financial results on Nov. 8. Investors will be looking for signs that Instacart is poised for growth after the company’s lackluster start on the Nasdaq last month. Instacart’s shares initially shot up after they began trading publicly on Sept. 19, but the value of the shares has since fallen to almost 20% below their initial public offering price of $30 each.
Automated grocery store opens in Atlanta suburb
A grocery store equipped with autonomous checkout technology has opened in Chamblee, Georgia, according to a Tuesday report by Atlanta TV station WXIA. Green Picks Market uses cameras and weight sensors supplied by Adroit Worldwide Media to track products as shoppers take them.
The technology in place at the new store is similar to checkout-free systems developed by companies like Standard AI, Trigo, UST, Zippin, Amazon and Grabango. Green Picks Market’s launch follows the debut in early 2022 of Nourish + Bloom Market, a frictionless grocery store, in Fayetteville, Georgia.
Connecticut grocery store tries income-based pricing
A new food store in Hartford, Connecticut, plans to provide shoppers with discounts on produce, dairy goods, meat and other products based on how much money they make, the Hartford Courant reported on Monday. Shoppers can also use subsidies from programs like SNAP to pay for purchases at the store, which is called The Grocery on Broad.
The store will be run by local nonprofit Forge City Works, which says its mission is to “provide job training and food access through sustainable social enterprises.”
Number of the week: 2.9%
That’s the rate at which Albertsons’ comparable-store sales rose during its second fiscal quarter of 2023 — the third quarter in a row where the key financial metric lost momentum for the retailer.
Amazon releases earnings
The e-commerce and grocery giant is set to publish its financial results for the third quarter of 2023 next Thursday. Investors will be looking to see if Amazon can reprise the strong second-quarter sales it posted earlier this year.
Is your grocery store a Swiftie?
Grocery stores are hopping on board with the Taylor Swift craze, and shoppers are buying into it.
Since the launch of her Eras Tour and now the concert movie that has people dancing in the aisles, grocery stores are supplying Swifties with merch and more.
In a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, earlier this week, a shopper shared a photo of a shirt with a reference to Swift’s song “Red” being sold at a Kroger in the Kansas City area.
A few months earlier, another shopper shared on Reddit a photo of a large sugar cookie with the Swift song title “You Need to Calm Down” written in frosting, noting that a Kansas City Hy-Vee was selling the cookies because of Swift’s concert.
It’s no coincidence that both of these Swift-themed goods have been spotted in Kansas City since Swift has recently made headlines for her new relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end and two-time Super Bowl winner Travis Kelce.
Even the shirt with the “Red” lyric on it referenced Kelce: a heart encircles his jersey number (87) and Swift’s lucky number (13), which are added up to equal 100.
My mom just sent me these pics of shirts they are selling at the GROCERY STORE in Kansas ????????????????????absolutely not a single reason for a Kroger to be selling merch with Taylor references pic.twitter.com/WUjr5Fphoy— maya ???? (@allmychampagne) October 18, 2023