Lowe’s enters retail media fray as home improvement

Dive Brief:

  • Lowe’s unveiled a retail media network providing omnichannel advertising services to brands interested in reaching consumers through its properties, per a press release. The home improvement marketer worked with CitrusAd and Criteo on the initiative.
  • The Lowe’s One Roof Media Network has several products currently available or in development, including ad placements on Lowes.com and the retailer’s mobile app; sponsored editorial content on those channels; digital and social media extensions; custom research and thought leadership; and measurement and closed-loop reporting tools. Premium native display banners and sponsored products on Lowes.com and the Lowe’s mobile app are the units that are live now, a spokesperson said.
  • The company next plans to scale its onsite inventory, select offsite activation partners and gin up sales demand as brands map out their strategies for 2022.

Dive Insight:

Lowe’s is making a more formal push into the crowded retail media space with the reveal of the Lowe’s One Roof Media Network, which is looking to generate traction as brands ramp up their marketing planning for next year. The move recognizes consumers’ evolving relationship to home improvement — the pandemic and flexible remote work policies have provided a boon for the category as people look to spruce up their abodes — but also changing mandates for advertisers as they contend with the death of third-party cookies and other key identifiers.

“There’s been a real shift in consumer behavior and sentiment toward home, and we know our partners are continually looking for new ways to command attention, drive relevance and overall sales,” said Marisa Thalberg, Lowe’s executive vice president, chief brand and marketing officer, in a press statement. “Lowe’s One Roof Media Network will serve as an extension of our partners’ marketing teams, helping them develop custom, comprehensive approaches designed to deliver on their business goals.”

Retail media networks position themselves as viable alternatives for engaging consumers in the face of digital marketing’s headwinds. National brands like Lowe’s wield troves of first-party shopper data derived from in-store sales and, increasingly, e-commerce channels that can be applied to better target ads. In linking physical and digital media, these companies aim to create a stronger offer around omnichannel advertising and measurement that presents a more holistic view of the customer than what more digitally-oriented competitors, like Amazon, can provide.

Early beta tests of the Lowe’s platform using limited inventory were conducted by more than 100 brand partners — among them Samsung, Kohler and GE Lighting — which led to “significant growth of daily revenue,” per the release, with one unnamed kitchen and bath brand reaching a 700% return on ad spend an several vendors seeing returns over 1,000%.

But retail media is also growing more competitive and may be a hard field to stand out in. Lowe’s is a relative latecomer to a fray that includes chief rival The Home Depot, which has operated a Retail Media+ platform for years, as well as Target, Walmart, CVS, Best Buy and a variety of other store brands — not to mention Amazon, which is angling for some of the same dollars.

Better technology and better data will be key differentiators. Lowe’s tapped ad-tech experts to help get Lowe’s One Roof Media Network off the ground. Criteo, which focuses on display advertising, has recently built out its retail media specialties. Last year, it debuted a Criteo Retail Media platform that allows advertisers to deliver personalized ads without the need for third-party cookies. CitrusAd, a software platform that helps brands optimize their marketing performance on e-commerce sites, was acquired by the agency giant Publicis Groupe in July.

Correction: A previous version of this story omitted the full name of Lowe’s retail media network. It is the Lowe’s One Roof Media Network.