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EXCLUSIVE: Inside the Launch of Save Mart’s In-Store Retail Media Program

Progressive Grocer talks with retailer’s chief digital officer and tech partner on how timing is everything with this rollout
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
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Marketing solutions firm Quad has launched its Quad Connect in-store retail media network via a partnership with The Save Mart Cos.

When The Save Mart Companies decided to delve into in-store retail media, the company’s tech experts didn’t have to look far to find a partner – they tapped their existing marketing agency, Quad

The timing was right for both companies to move forward with the development and deployment of an in-store retail media network for the retailer with a rather dense footprint in California. “We have a really strong relationship with them on a lot of aspects of our business. From a strategic perspective, we are aligned with the leadership team on trends in grocery and we have been discussing retail media in general and its evolution,” recalled Tamara Pattison, SVP and chief digital officer at Save Mart, in a recent interview with Progressive Grocer. “On a parallel track, we started to investigate in-store activation with retail media.”

[RELATED: Flashfood Expands to California, Thanks to Save Mart]

Quad was in a good position to help its grocery partner roll out in-store retail media in an impactful way. The company recently acquired DART Innovation, an in-store digital media solutions provider, and was hence able to provide a full suite of services. Progressive Grocer also spoke with Kevin Bridgewater, SVP of strategic retail initiatives for Quad, who said that the acquisition of DART Innovation opens up new avenues of growth at a watershed moment for the industry. 

“As marketers – regardless if you are brand, retailer or agency partner like Quad – this is one of the most exciting times. Retail media networks aren’t just the rage – they are the rage because the ‘a-ha’ moment in stores is so significant,” he declared, adding, “The ability to convey information to a captive audience at the moment of truth is going to really change things. And I think grocers will be the ones to truly revolutionize retail media networks.”

Pattison agreed that there is a collective understanding that in-store retail media is a gamechanger. “When Quad came to us with the solution, it piqued our interest and we said, ‘Let’s test and learn our way into the experience – let’s not assume we know everything,’” she remarked, adding that early introductions to vendors garnered a lot of positive reaction. “When we unveiled it to our supplier partners, they went gangbusters. This is an opportunity to reach shoppers in the store with a visually appealing message at shelf – not just a tag, but a real way to showcase whatever a product is.”

Over the past several months, Save Mart and Quad have worked closely together to build out the in-store program, In-Store Connect by Quad, with the ultimate aim of helping suppliers connect with customers in an integrated way across all digital platforms. “We are helping shoppers learn about new and innovative products that are available to them in our stores,” explained Pattison.

This program – which is being pilot tested at 15 Save Mart, Lucky and FoodMaxx stores with a broader rollout planned for later this year – is designed to provide that inspiration at pivotal moments inside the proverbial box. Digital screens, including large format screens at the front of the store, vertical banner screens down the aisle and other screens at end caps, are strategically positioned, including some installed right next to products. 

“Being able to communicate dynamic digital content throughout the shopping experience helps consumers to make better informed decisions and inspires new solutions,” explained Bridgewater. Through the different hardware formats and data-driven content management system, images and messages can be targeted for optimal relevance for the consumer and optimal results for the advertiser.

Pattison said that the Save Mart intends to leverage the technologies to create such meaningful touchpoints. “It allows us to tailor content literally down to the store, the screen and the day of the week and time of day we are running it. It’s so compelling,” she said. 

At the same time, she and her team are keenly aware of the importance of balancing technology within a store setting. “Now our challenge is to make sure we keep the messaging tight and thoughtful as we roll it out. Our shoppers will tell us if we turned the shopping experience into the Vegas Strip or if we are truly adding value to their trip,” Pattison asserted. 

The top retailers and solution providers in grocery will be talking about the latest innovations, like retail media, at Progressive Grocer's annual GroceryTech event in Dallas on June 5-7. Click here for more information and to register now.

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