As a forward-thinking retailer, you already know it’s time to move beyond the basics and unlock more sophisticated digital real estate, but you may not know where to start. For businesses facing the reality that digital solutions are no longer a choice but a means of survival, the next question isn’t if or when to get on board, it’s how.

Both the urgency of the transition and its immediate payoff are clear. They’ve been proven time and time again by businesses from the likes of Amazon—the digital giant who generated $22.4B in advertising revenue in the last 12 months—to more traditional, brick and mortar like Walmart. The common denominator? Redefined retail media.

What was once a category of outdated on-the-shelf promotions and simple coupon features has exploded into a global advertising goldmine—robust digital networks with the capabilities to connect with customers closer to the point of sale and generate digital ad dollars across every stage of the shopping journey, from in-store, to online, and everywhere in between. If you want to get in on the returns, you need to get up to speed. The million (or in the case of Amazon, billion) dollar digital retail media network question is whether to build or to buy—and that’s where we come in.

Understanding the playing field

In even just the past pandemic-fueled year, the rules of the retail media game have changed significantly—and the opportunities to become a winner have proliferated more than anyone initially could have imagined.

Back in the 1990s, Amazon entered the space and quickly solidified its position as a permanent threat to Walmart’s existence. Before long, consumer behavior suggested that Walmart would soon be obsolete—but of course, we now know that’s not what happened at all.

Amazon’s US ad business is predicted to grow another 30.1% this year, surpassing $20B and surging past $30B by 2023. By the end of 2021, the company will have gained control of 76.2% of the $24B ecommerce channel advertising market. Traditional, brick and mortar Walmart is now the runner up, controlling 6.5%. It’s a big disparity, but Walmart’s revenue isn’t inconsequential—and the revenue from owning even the tiniest fraction of that market share wouldn’t be, either. Just as Walmart has risen in the ranks, you can solidify your position in the digital advertising space and capture your share of the revenue. The only catch? You can’t do it the same way.

Building vs. buying your digital network

Building a retail media network from the ground up took Walmart 15,000 engineers, tens of thousands of dollars[1] , and multiple years of development. You don’t have that type of money or that kind of time, but you know there’s no way around it: without a comprehensive digital retail media network, you’ll remain behind.

While you can’t catch up with Walmart by building a digital retail media network of your own, you can take another route: buying one. Swiftly-powered digital retail media networks are ready-made, plug-and-play platforms that you can quickly implement and tailor to fit your businesses. We’ve already done the development for you, so you can start reaping the rewards as soon as you get up and running—and watch as the revenue rolls in.

After launching its digital retail media network, Walmart Media Group (Walmart’s advertising arm), increased its number of net new advertisers by 40% in 2020. The company’s ecommerce business grew 79% in just one quarter after its digital revamp, and its retail media business and omnichannel offerings continue to thrive. Walmart’s self-serve platform—only a piece of the capabilities that Swiftly can help your store launch—is now responsible for 50% of their sponsored product ad revenue.

As landmark brands like Walmart, Best Buy, CVS, Kroger, Target, Walgreens, and more continue to break into the digital marketplace and build up their retail media networks, you can do the same. And by buying a solution that’s already set up to succeed, you can even do it even faster.

The right digital retail media network can give your company the tools needed to create a seamless, interactive, and engaging shopping experience that fills more carts—and drives more sales. Here’s why buying, not building, a digital retail media network is your best option, and how Swiftly is uniquely positioned to deliver the results you need:

Greater speed to market. You don’t have years to build a customized platform from the ground up. In truth, you don’t even have more than a few months. What market share remains up for grabs is being quickly gobbled up, and speed is on your side. A Swiftly-powered platform can deploy in weeks, opening up a range of multimedia capabilities and a wealth of customer touchpoints you didn’t have access to before—all while delivering measurable returns in record time.

Faster returns. With Swiftly, a faster deployment means faster returns. Why? Because our platform operates on a long-proven model. When brands direct their spend somewhere that both generates revenue and allows them to measure those returns, they continue to allocate more money there. It’s how advertising budgets work, and it’s how both you and your brand partners will benefit from a platform that enables more returns and more visibility, in less time. The faster you implement your solution, the sooner you’ll unlock more valuable ad space—and the more money brand partners will funnel your way.

●       Leaner deployment. As mentioned earlier, Walmart’s network took 15,000 engineers to develop and deploy. Even Target, a company in the much earlier stages of retail media transformation, employs 4,000 people on its IT staff alone. You don’t have that kind of manpower, but by channeling your funds to a solution that handles platform development, integration, and customization for you—and delivers a platform powered by leading-edge artificial intelligence and automation capabilities—you don’t need it. Customer behavior pattern recognition, targeting, personalization, attribution, and advanced reporting and analytics are built in. Thanks to our automatic, seamless, and intelligent technology, you’ll be up and running without a designated army of engineers, and with a higher percentage of the returns funneling right back into the business. With Swiftly, your network will get smarter the more you use it—and so will your strategy.

To build or to buy? By now, the answer should be clear. Buy a comprehensive digital retail media network today, and reap the returns tomorrow and well into the future. Contact Swiftly now to get started.