‘Retail media’ has made impressive strides over the past year, but what’s lesser known is retail media’s cousin — ‘retail data.’ Also known as ‘shopper data,’ retail data refers to a retailer’s rich first-party data sets such as spending history, shopping cart contents and the use of loyalty programs.

Retail data enables marketers to connect ad spend to real-world sales and enable brands to reach more relevant shoppers, beyond a retailer’s owned and operated media property. 

It’s set to become the next big phenomenon so here’s what Australian retailers need to know, according to The Trade Desk senior director of business development for Australia and New Zealand, Stephanie Famolaro.

“Major retailers have gathered valuable, opt-in shopper data, aided by the recent surge in e-commerce. But increased focus on consumer privacy has pushed advertisers to look for more sophisticated ways to apply data to ad campaigns,” Famolaro told Retailbiz in a recent interview.

“Retail data enables advertisers to deliver more relevant ads. For the first time, more retailers are making their shopper data available to advertisers through The Trade Desk’s media buying platform.” 

What does retail data offer advertisers and retailers that they can’t get anywhere else?

Retail data is based on actual transactions, which likely makes it the fastest-growing consented and accurate datasets we have today. 

“We pair retailers’ data to shoppers’ preferred media channels so advertisers can more accurately reach relevant shoppers as they watch BVOD, stream music, read online news or interact with mobile apps. This not only expands advertisers’ reach, it also allows them to close the loop between their advertising activities and actual sales,” Famolaro explained.

One example is The Trade Desk’s partnership with Flybuys, where advertisers can leverage Flybuys’ de-identified sales conversion data and directly apportion the impact of their ad campaigns on sales within Coles and Liquorland. 

“For retailers, retail data gives them the opportunity to look beyond their own retail media networks, helping them drive additional traffic to their e-commerce properties and deepen brand-retailer relationships by tapping into upper funnel media spend,” she added.

How does retail data differ from the traditional retail model?

Traditional retail media typically influences lower-funnel conversions as ads are located within retailers’ own media property, and reinforces a buying process that a customer is already in. By comparison, retail data opens up new opportunities to leverage data for more upper funnel marketing activities, according to Famolaro.

“Retail data expands to media channels on the open internet, where ad inventory is almost unlimited. By pairing retail data to a consumer’s preferred media channels on the open web, brands can reach customers earlier on their shopping journeys, and connect ad exposures to actual purchases,” she said.

“In short, by using both a retailer’s media property and its shopper data, advertisers can utilise both their traditional retail marketing and brand marketing budgets to achieve their upper and lower funnel campaign objectives.”

How can retailers capitalise and are there any hurdles to overcome?

The Trade Desk has seen major retailers launch their own retail media networks, and Famolaro believes having the right digital infrastructure and data capabilities is key. 

“As retailers around the world begin to harness the power of their retail data with The Trade Desk, we can help them unlock the value of loyalty and e-commerce data in a safe and secure way through our robust data marketplace.”

What is your advice for Australian marketers?

Around the world, major retailers are already turning their data sets into new capabilities with forecasts showing that Australian retailers will build a $2 billion retailer media segment in the coming five years with $1.2 billion of this in new revenue.

“It’s set to be the biggest force in retail we’ve seen in decades, and for those who don’t capitalise, they’ll miss out,” she concluded.