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AI, Retail Media Rolling Into Stores

Info-Sharing, Ad Targeting, Employee Assistants Proliferate

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The digitalization of retail continues, as new initiatives roll out from several major retailers this summer.

Albertsons has introduced Collective TV, a solution targeting both retail media and TV value, allowing advertisers to optimize campaigns across streaming, digital video, and soon linear TV. Collective TV offers three service channels: Premium Offering Channel, DIY CTV Channel, and Collective Syndication Channel. These channels provide brands with access to a vast array of premium CTV inventory and advanced targeting capabilities, integrating weather and location data, and offering measurement tools for on and offline sales.

Collective TV's launch comes amid a surge in digital video ad revenues, which are expected to reach $63 billion in 2024. The service channels leverage Albertsons Media Collective’s first-party audience data and ensure privacy-conscious measurement and targeting. Instacart has extended its retail media data to YouTube, enabling shoppable ads on the video platform. This new capability allows select CPG brand partners to inspire purchases directly from YouTube ads for same-day delivery via Instacart. The partnership merges Instacart’s first-party data with YouTube’s video creative power, targeting high-intent consumers. Early adopters of the new ad format, including Clorox and Publicis Media, have reported success in reaching target customers at the point of purchase.

The initiative builds on Instacart’s previous partnership with Google, which launched in January, to enhance Google Shopping ads with Instacart’s retail media data, showing promising results for CPG partners.

Target’s latest digital initiative aims to empower employees to assist customers. The retailer will roll out a generative artificial intelligence chatbot named Store Companion to assist its store employees across nearly 2,000 locations nationwide by August. The AI-powered chatbot, accessible via an app on store associates’ handheld devices, aims to answer procedural questions and support store operations.

Currently in pilot testing at about 400 locations, Store Companion is designed to streamline day-to-day tasks, enabling employees to work more efficiently and engage more deeply with customers. Additionally, it offers on-the-job learning resources for new or seasonal employees, improving overall job performance and customer service.

Target’s move aligns with a broader industry trend of leveraging AI to enhance customer and employee experiences. Walmart, for example, has also been utilizing generative AI to improve customer search results and provide real-time information to frontline employees.

Lowe’s One Roof Media Network has a new leader in recently-named Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Wilson. Wilson, who has been with Lowe’s since 2006, will lead strategic brand and product marketing, loyalty programs, and customer experience initiatives. Her promotion comes as Lowe’s and other major retailers, including Home Depot and Walmart, expand their retail media capabilities.

Lowe’s recently partnered with Google for off-site retail media solutions, leveraging Google’s Search Ads 360 product to extend the reach of its retail media network to third-party channels.

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