Retail Media: From the Shelf to the Digital World

Retail Media involves leveraging retailer data and their available advertising spaces for advertising purposes. Previously, we had shelf end caps in stores, through which brands gained visibility. Today, Retail Media has gone digital. Shelf end caps have moved to digital spaces, and brands gain visibility throughout the customer journey, both on e-commerce websites, major media platforms, and in physical stores.

[Interview with Blandine Multrier, Chief Executive Officer of relevanC.]


The Retail Media expert, RelevanC, partners with retailers and brands to increase their advertising revenue and organic sales. Actu Retail1 met with Blandine Multrier, CEO of this decidedly technological company, to discuss retail, data, and artificial intelligence.

What is Retail Media? Why has it become an important and essential topic for retailers?

Blandine Multrier: Retail Media involves leveraging retailer data and available advertising spaces for advertising purposes. Previously, we had shelf headers in stores, through which brands gained visibility; this was, in a way, already Retail Media. Today, this Retail Media has become digitalized. The shelf headers have moved to digital spaces, and brands gain visibility throughout the customer journey, whether it’s on e-commerce sites, major media outlets, or in stores. All of this is done by harnessing data to segment consumers.

Do you anticipate the emergence of new players and formats in Retail Media in the coming months and years?

Blandine Multrier: Currently, we are experiencing a significant growth phase in Retail Media in France. During the first half of 2022, it grew by 31%. This increase in power is accompanied by a growing number of players who are in the process of structuring themselves.

We also observe the emergence of new formats. Initially, the focus is on advertising presence on the e-commerce site with product sponsorships and display ads. But we are limited by the site traffic. Once the site reaches saturation, the goal is to reach consumers off-site. The field of possibilities becomes enormous. This is what we call audience expansion. We are increasingly working on ‘digital out of home’, for example, using digital screens inside stores..

For a retailer to venture into Retail Media, they must have two fundamental requirements. The first is to centralize often scattered data, segment it, and have ownership of it. The second is to equip themselves with technology that enables advertising dissemination and consumer segmentation. This is why RelevanC is structured around two business units within ‘Retail Media.’ The ‘SaaS’ business unit is dedicated to use the technology developed to assist retailers in technical implementation, both in France and globally. The other, the ‘Advertising’ business unit, focuses more on advertisers, following the model of an advertising agency, to market and operate Retail Media campaigns.

What does artificial intelligence bring to the world of Retail Media?

Blandine Multrier: What’s important when a retailer offers Retail Media is not to degrade the consumer experience. When the customer visits the site to make a purchase, it’s necessary for the proposed advertising to be relevant to them and for the formats used to match their expectations. If this relevance is not present, we run the risk of tarnishing the e-commerce site’s experience and, consequently, its performance. To achieve this level of relevance, featured ads must correspond to the consumer’s searches. This involves analyzing both the purchase history – to determine the most sought-after products – and the current consumption attitude – through a deep understanding of the keyword used.

Artificial intelligence plays a role in finding relevance and in personalizing the advertising offered to an individual. Therefore, we have developed algorithms for personalized promotions. For example, if a customer purchases products in large quantities, such as for family consumption, the suggested promotions should cater to that purchasing behavior. Similarly, if the consumer tends to buy organic products, artificial intelligence is highly valuable in this regard.

Interview originally granted to the French publication Actu Retail and translated into English for dissemination:

Actu Retail: French digital and collaborative platform for tracking and sector-related information in the retail sector.