UK grocery retailer Co-op is launching a retail media network, Co-op Media Network, the company has announced. Co-op describes its new offering as the UK’s first convenience store retail media network, distinguishing its offering from others in the grocery space like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Lidl.
Co-op is already active in the retail media space, making its first-party customer data available to brands for targeting via an in-house team. This new offering, created in partnership with Threefold, a specialist agency operating in the retail and commerce media space, consolidates its retail media capabilities into one cohesive product. Co-op says it will offer brands “advanced opportunities to connect their goods and services to interested Co-op shoppers in offsite digital media channels”.
Given the rapid projected growth of retail media, and the highly profitable new revenue stream it grants retailers, it’s not surprising that many are spinning up and fleshing out retail media networks (RMNs). But it’s a fragmented market, meaning brands tend to work with a select few RMNs.
To differentiate itself, Co-op is focusing on its positioning as a convenience store, rather than a big box retailer. While many of its competitors run small convenience stores as well as larger supermarkets, Co-op only runs relatively small shops. It’s applied this philosophy to its ecommerce offering too, focussing on rapid delivery for smaller orders, rather than large scheduled weekly shops.
Kenyatte Nelson, Co-op’s chief membership and customer officer, says this gives a unique angle to its retail media network. “Co-op’s nationwide network of frequently shopped smaller stores drives increased opportunities to see for brands’ advertising campaigns, and the unique impulsive nature of convenience shopping missions creates untapped occasions for brands to grow their sales,” she said. “Convenience shopping and supermarket shopping are different purchasing occasions, and brands will see greater sales and brand building benefits by executing media against both.”
Co-op may use this positioning to attract a slightly different type of brands compared to other grocery retailers. Brands with lower customer loyalty, which focus on being top of mind when a customer is browsing for groceries, might be best suited to Co-op’s frequent and often customers.
And the company will be leaning on measurement capabilities offered by Threefold’s parent company SMG. “As the importance of retail media continues to grow within the broader marketing mix for brands, SMG’s proprietary software product, Plan-Apps, will help brands investing in Co-op Media Network to gain a comprehensive understanding of performance and measure the high ROI that convenience media can drive,” said Samuel Knights, CEO of SMG.