The future of retail is data monetisation

It provides opportunities for brands to reach their consumers and optimise purpose and value, says Accenture Song's TJ Lightwala

Companies today – not just Facebook and Google – are now starting to sell ads.

With over 170 million people using social media daily, companies are now able to tap into a treasure trove of data based solely on their potential customers’ shopping habits.

According to Statista, an estimated 2.14 billion people globally purchased their goods online in 2021 and, if projections are anything to go by, ecommerce sales worldwide are expected to soar exponentially to around $8.1 trillion by 2026.

As an e-commerce leader among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, the UAE has a rich and evolving digital advertising landscape.

Data-led monetisation presents immense opportunities for brands to reach their consumers in the moment and optimise the business for purpose and value.

Every company is an ad company

Retail media, the third wave of digital advertising, is upon us. According to forecasts, it could be the most significant wave of digital advertising that the industry will see.

Insider Intelligence estimates that retail media will be a $45 billion market this year and will continue to grow by about $10 billion in 2024.

There is a growing appetite for businesses across industries – from retailers, grocery stores and telcos to hotels – to explore data monetisation partnerships with retailers.

These partnerships are ideal for brands to achieve a tangible return on investments (ROI), gain critical consumers insights and for retailers to benefit from new revenue streams.

An example of this is Sharaf DG’s recent partnership with RetailNext to help boost their future data monetisation programmes.

As the UAE’s leading multi-brand retailer, Sharaf DG left no stone unturned in its quest to maximise the collection of integrated data analytics to unlock real-life customer shopping trends and guide the implementation of core strategies related to merchandising, resources planning, and staffing allocation.

Data-led monetisation can overcome challenges
Consumer attention is fragmenting across multiple media, creating a war for eyeballs and engagement. There is also a great demand for immersive experiences – think highly engageable content, formats and interactivity within environments like the metaverse.

Social gaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube and mobile apps are helping brands reach their marketing goals.

The ubiquity of screens in homes, workplaces and on-the-go also expands opportunities for brands to reach their consumers.

Streaming and social platforms are also driving dollars away from traditional outlets and rerouting them towards new, digitally powered revenue streams.

E-commerce juggernaut Amazon holds a dominant position among retail media networks. The company effectively monetises its data and inventory through various avenues, including sponsored search, sponsored brand stores and predictive AI for suggesting the next best action to users.

Businesses looking to tap the retail revolution and monetise in the space must consider these differentiators that will help them succeed:

Be life-centric: Create life-centric, data-driven and tech-enabled shopper experiences that are relevant to customers both in the online and offline world.

Enable smart loyalty: Utilise data and technology to unleash the power of loyalty and expand it to monetize data to partners and other stakeholders.

Drive closed-loop measurement: For online, in-store, and other offline formats within the endemic owned spaces of media and inventory.

Redefine campaign and data operations: Transform your day-to-day operations with automation, technology and analytics.

Innovate: Support organisations with digitally enabled innovation and alternative business models and adjacencies.

Brands and advertisers need a clear and differentiated value proposition. Outstanding service and credibility, access to relevant sales channels and product simplicity and effectiveness that can be easily distilled across the organisation.

By TJ Lightwala, Marketing Services Activation & Transformation lead, Growth Markets, Accenture Song