Walmart Connect, Walmart’s retail media arm, is testing the sale of ads on in-store radio and integrating in-store sampling programs with online offerings while vowing not to disturb the shopper experience.
“The next frontier of retail media is in-store experiences,” said Whitney Cooper, head of omnichannel transformation at Walmart Connect, in a blog entry.
Walmart’s in-store media offerings include TV wall ads on in-store screens, self-checkout ads that can verify when the ad leads to a future digital or in-store purchase, and sponsored store events.
For the first time, brands can now purchase ads on Walmart Radio by region or store.
Ms. Cooper said the ads “create a new upper-funnel touchpoint for brand marketers and out-of-home (OOH) buyers to create awareness, because in-store audio is about connecting with customers wherever they are in the store — they don’t have to pass the brand in the aisle.”
Walmart is taking sampling in-house and integrating it into digital campaigns. The retailer, for example, will pair a demo cart with QR codes that link to a curated Walmart.com landing page.
“For suppliers, these demos create a massive opportunity to drive discovery and conversion, such as when launching a new product or driving an always-on presence for core products. For customers, this creates an experience to look forward to,” Ms. Cooper said.
Any in-store advertising must be “additive and relevant” to the shopping experience. Ms. Cooper told Advertising Age that the repetitive nature of Walmart Radio annoyed associates in the past and the prior version of Walmart TV, featuring embedded screens in endcap displays, didn’t engage shoppers enough.
“We’re working with teams across Walmart to assess new formats to make sure we are creating amazing customer experiences without interrupting store operations,” she wrote in the blog.
Insider Intelligence estimated that while on-site placements will remain north of 80 percent of retail media spend for the next few years on the momentum behind search and display ads, the big push is behind “more off-site inventory in formats ranging from CTV (connected TV) to digital out-of-home to in-store.”