The Friday Checkout: The next phase of retail media is here (2024)

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.

Over the past few years, experts have predicted that as more retailers launch retail media networks, third-party technology companies would find a way to consolidate and better connect those individual platforms.

That prediction is now coming to fruition.

Most grocery chains have a retail media network as the technology has become nearly essential to remaining competitive. But the writing is on the wall: Regional and independent grocers don’t have the scale or technology to compete with the likes of Albertsons and Walmart in the retail media space.

That’s where consolidation comes into play.

At the end of May, United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) debuted UNFI Media Network, a retail media platform powered by Swiftly. The platform isn’t for UNFI — it’s a service for the distributor’s regional and independent grocery partners. UNFI Media Network aims to supply smaller grocers with technology that can grow their own retail media network and better reach shoppers digitally.

Giant Eagle and Wegmans announced earlier this week individual partnerships with Rippl, a media platform designed for regional grocers to help them expand their reach as well as create a single access point for advertising partners.

These consolidation moves essentially create a funnel, streamlining the connection between grocery partners and the advertisers they work with. Rather than CPG companies having to go from grocer to grocer to decide where is best to push their ads, they can simply connect with partners like Rippl or UNFI Media Network to help them figure out which retailers to partner with as well as keep metrics standardized across retail partners.

And this is a two-way street, as grocers who link up with these bigger platforms can connect with more advertising partners and not get bogged down in providing all their performance data in real-time.

The Friday Checkout: The next phase of retail media is here (1)

In case you missed it

Publix sees green in the Bluegrass State

Publix recently paid $4 million to purchase space in the Fairview Commons retail center in Northern Kentucky, the Cincinnati Business Courier reported this week, citing public records. A company spokesperson declined to provide more information when contacted by the paper.

If confirmed, this would be Publix’s third planned location for the Northern Kentucky region, which sits right on the doorstep of Kroger’s headquarters in Cincinnati. Publix opened its first Kentucky location earlier this year in Louisville and has five additional locations planned for the Louisville and Lexington areas, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Grocers look to — what else? — ice cream to boost summer traffic

The weather is heating up, and that means it’s time for retailers to roll out their ice cream promotions. Kroger is celebrating the summer solstice by giving away 50 free pints of Kroger brand ice cream per minute for every hour of sunlight that’s expected that day. That’s 45,000 pints in total. Shoppers can sign up through a special website and redeem a digital coupon to claim their pint.

Meanwhile, Publix is touting its latest release of summer ice cream flavors under its Publix brand. The eight varieties include cold brew cookies and cream, and caramel turtle cheesecake. Most flavors can be found on Publix’s ice cream truck, which will visit stores throughout the summer.

ShopRite launches recycling program for flexible packaging

Shoppers in Northern New Jersey can now take flexible packaging to one of five ShopRite stores in Morris and Essex Counties for recycling, according to a press release from the retailer. Eligible items include pet food packaging, laundry and dish detergent pouches, chip and snack bags, candy wrappers, food and drink squeeze pouches and bread bags. All materials will then be collected, cleaned and recycled by TerraCycle.

The Friday Checkout: The next phase of retail media is here (2)

Number of the week: 5%

That’s the percent by which UNFI’s sales to Whole Foods grew during Q3, the distributor reported this week. The figure was a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster quarter and came shortly after UNFI announced it extended its supply agreement with Whole Foods through 2032.

What’s ahead

Inflation figures due

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is scheduled to release its Consumer Price Index data for May on Wednesday.

Impulse find

Happy National Donut Day from Bashas’

The Arizona-based grocer recently held its ninth-annual Donut Flavor Craze Contest, in which shoppers can enter their homemade donuts to win the title of Bashas’ 2024 Donut Ambassador. Participants create a donut that fits the theme the company chooses. This year’s theme is Pop Culture, the grocer announced in an Instagram post in April.

The winning donut in the adult category was called “What’s Up Doc?,” the Mesa Independent reported. Inspired by Bugs Bunny, the donut has a light cream cheese frosting with carrot cake crumbles on top. The sweet treat, created by Brian Vehon from Mesa, Arizona, will be available for purchase at Bashas’ stores starting Friday — which is also National Donut Day — and will be available for the remainder of June.

The newly crowned Donut Ambassador also walked away with a gift basket complete with a Bashas’ gift card as well as baking and cooking gadgets valued at $450. Vehon will also be gifted a free dozen donuts per month for the next 12 months from the grocer.

The Friday Checkout: The next phase of retail media is here (2024)
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