The marketing and advertising industry is a fast-paced industry.
With technology evolving rapidly, people have found it more convenient to do their shopping and other transactions online.
With digital interactions overtaking in-person activities, this shift in people’s lifestyles means one thing for businesses — they need to pivot fast. Failure to do so can only lead to losing customers.
Enter retail media networks.
What is a Retail Media Network?
With more and more people shopping online, retail media just makes sense.
But what exactly is a retail media network?
A retail media network is when retailers set up an advertising platform on their website, app, or other digital platforms within their network. This allows the store, and other brands, to advertise to customers on sites like CVS or Walgreens. It’s a form of in-store advertising in a digital format.
Here’s an example from CVS’s homepage. Notice the “sponsored” tag in the bottom right corner — this isn’t just a product listing; it’s an ad from a face mask company right on CVS’s website.
Ads on retail media networks can be displayed on many pages, including:
The home page
Product detail page
This enables advertisers to reach shoppers at the various stages of their buyer journey.
The reason retail media works so well is that shoppers are more receptive to ads when shopping than when they’re carrying out other non-shopping related activities.
Pros and Cons of Retail Media
Retail media is changing the way shoppers and brands interact. But is this new form of advertising and marketing a good thing or not?
Well, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of retail media and find out.
Pros of Retail Media
We’ll start by looking at the advantages of retail media and breaking them down according to the players involved.
The most significant advantage of retail media for retailers is that it creates a new revenue stream. Advertising is big business, and a retail media network enables retailers to tap into this $560 billion industry.
Profit margins on consumer packaged goods (CPG) have taken a tumble in the past few years. The revenue generated by retail media has been a lifeline for retailers looking to boost their profits.
Retailers that leverage retail media have become the new media moguls, thanks to the rise of e-commerce. This has opened up a new world of possibilities in how they can generate revenue.
Shoppers also benefit from retail media in a few ways.
The first benefit is it offers better price control for customers. With retailers generating revenue from ads, they won’t be as quick to raise their prices. An increase in pricing could result in a drop in traffic, spiraling into reduced ad revenue.
Secondly, retail media benefits shoppers by offering a better customer experience (CX). Sure, ads can be annoying. But if done well, they can help shoppers make better purchase decisions. They can also remind shoppers about related products they may want.
One of the biggest advantages of retail media for advertisers is that it gives them access to first-party data.
Personalization plays a huge role in designing and executing ad campaigns that convert. To do this, you need accurate data.
Another reason first-party data has become so valuable is because of the impending death of cookies.
For brands that advertise on retail media networks, the most significant advantage is that it’s easier to tie ad spend to sales. Because sales happen closer to the ads, it’s easier to attribute a sale to a specific ad and action. This is crucial to strategic decisions such as resource allocation.
Another advantage for brands is that these ads increase visibility, which helps drive sales.
Even though it’s still in its infancy, retail media is already proving to be a powerful form of advertising set to change the future of online shopping experiences.
Cons of Retail Media
With retail media looking so good, could it have any disadvantages?
One of the biggest disadvantages of retail media is that it gives more power to brands that are already big. It creates an uneven playing field for smaller brands that don’t have the traffic, budget, and infrastructure to set up retail media networks of their own.
Another disadvantage of retail media is that it’s a new field that requires infrastructure that most retailers don’t have. Because of that, it’s a learning curve for all the parties involved.
The Rise of Retail Media: Explained
Many brands had already jumped on the digital transformation bandwagon before retail media networks came on the field. They invested in mobile apps where customers could shop for products and get delivery right to their homes.
When the pandemic hit, these websites and apps became instrumental in generating sales for retailers. Research shows that 80% of people are now doing over half of their shopping online. The same study reveals that 60% of respondents said they’d continue shopping online even after the pandemic.
What does this have to do with retail media networks?
This shift in traffic to retailer websites and apps birthed a new form of advertising.
That new form of advertising comes in the form of retailer media networks.
In short, this means brands advertising on retailers’ websites and apps. These can be brands that sell directly on the store or brands that want to reach that store’s audience.
Leveraging already warm traffic to create retail media networks is powerful. That’s because these networks benefit everyone involved, from the retailer to the brands advertising to the shoppers.
Brands with Retail Media Networks
Interested to know which brands have their own retail media networks and how they do it?
Let’s look at three brands that caught the shift early and are seeing great results with their retail media.
Originally known as the Consumer Value Store, CVS has become a force to reckon with on the American retail scene.
CVS is one of the first brands to launch its own retail media network, dubbed the CVS Media Exchange (CMX).
CMX allows brands to place their products on channels informed by CV’s first data. This includes off-site as well as on-site targeted ads. When it comes to customer data, CVS has the edge over most retail ad networks, thanks to their:
Close to 10,000 locations nationwide
Decades of consumer data through their loyalty programs
High-traffic online platforms
With this huge data bank at their disposal, advertisers are better equipped to create personalized ads and place them strategically for optimum visibility.
Walgreens is not green behind the ears when it comes to executing digital ad campaigns for other brands.
So it’s no surprise that Walgreens has decided to formalize things and launch a retail media network called Walgreens Advertising Group (Wag).
Wag offers ad placement on their online store, in their brick-and-mortar stores, as well as on other digital platforms such as social media and Google.
Retail and e-commerce giant Amazon is another brand that has mastered retail media and runs its own network.
It’s called Amazon Advertising.
Thanks to its massive digital footprint, Amazon can offer brands more in terms of the kind of campaigns they want to run. It also gives them access to one of the world’s largest customer data banks as well as a massive audience (over 200 million in the U.S alone).
Amazon Advertising works much like Google Ads. Brands that want to be found have to bid for keywords and pay each time their ad is clicked.
Retail Media Advertisers
Since most retailers don’t have the infrastructure and know-how to run retail media networks, how do they pull it off?
Most of them get external help. Here are some of the top retail media advertisers who are powering the retail media movement:
Criteo is one of the leading retail media advertising platforms around. They make it easy for media buyers to purchase retail media with ease, thanks to their end-to-end service platform.
The platform gives brands and retailers full control of their campaigns and easy access to data and analytics. Robust APIs also allow you to use your marketing tool of choice.
One thing Criteo boasts of is its transparent platform. For retailers, this makes it easier to grow their retail media network, while brands have more flexibility when it comes to choosing the retailers they want to partner with.
Another retail media advertiser that enables brands to advertise their products on retailers’ websites is Promote IQ.
Acquired by Microsoft in 2019, Promote IQ gives retailers full control of the end-user experience. This helps make the retail media seamlessly blend in with the retailer’s website.
Promote IQ claims they can help retailers generate 5X their revenue by cutting out the middleman and working directly with brands through their platform. Promote IQ also provides automation capabilities to streamline and increase your campaigns’ effectiveness.
Brands get more visibility and higher conversions thanks to Promote IQ’s powerful data and analytics platform. This helps create hyper-targeted ads that resonate with shoppers, driving up conversions.
Another advertiser shaking up the retail media world is Elevaate.
Elevaate understands the hassle retailers face setting up a retail media network. That’s why they designed a platform that’s as easy to set up as it is effective in generating revenue. With Elevaate, retailers can maximize their digital real estate profits without compromising their shoppers’ experience.
Elevaate promises increased visibility and high return on ad spend (ROAS) by offering precise targeting.
How to Create a Retail Media Network for Your Brand
So how can you create a retail media network to boost sales for your brand? If your brand has a large amount of traffic, consider using one of the tools above, like Criteo or Elevaate.
After all, they have the infrastructure in place to help your retail network up and running quickly. Which means you’ll have more time to spend on your business.
With most of them, the process is as simple as applying to join their program. Once approved, you upload your product feed, and the ad network does the rest.
The world is changing rapidly.
For businesses to succeed in the future, they need to adapt to the changing landscape and buyer behavior.
This is why you must consider the retail media bandwagon if you haven’t yet — either by creating your own or advertising on major sites like CVS and Walgreens.
Not only will it give you an edge over the competition, but it will help you tap into audiences you can’t reach on your own. It will also help you maximize your marketing budget, ensuring you get the best ROAS.
Have you used retail media for your brand? What was your experience like?
When you’re creating a blog, getting some perspective can help you organize your thoughts.
First, laser focus your sights on the intention of your blog. Look at the best parts of your startup like you’re looking through a High Point Scientific telescope and examine your goals. What do you hope to achieve?
In terms of marketing and driving sales, there’s an open list of goals to consider. Blogs are most commonly used for
Affiliate marketing sales
Building email lists
Promotion for Local Products and Services
Blogs help you drive free traffic to your site. If you’ve got something to sell, a blog can direct your audience to whatever you’re selling.
Information that’s helpful and free always increases the value of your brand. That’s exactly what blogs are designed for. Here are some blogging ideas to get you started.
A Frequently Asked Questions section can be some of your blog’s best content. In fact, it’s so useful that even Google uses it. Just below your search results on Google, you’ll find a “People Also Ask” tab.
This helps Google users find trends in resources or information in one place. Ultimately, FAQs centralize popular information. Using them can increase your SEO and bring new users to your blog.
Top 10 Lists
Nothing keeps an audience reading your blog like suspense. Top 10s are lists that rank items based on your own criteria and build suspense for the final item.
If you simply want to maintain your reader’s attention, suspenseful top 10 lists are the way to go. They can be both informative and entertaining, no matter what your product or service is.
Reviews are designed to inform your reader about certain products and services. They work well for tech blogs because users can see a product’s realistic performance before making a purchase.
If you’re in the affiliate marketing tech niche, reviewing products is also a good way to establish trust between you and your readers. Users are always looking for customer experiences to inform their buying decision.
Instead of visiting sites like Reddit, your users can visit your blog to find the answers they need.
There’s a sea of how-to tutorials and information on Google. The reason is that they’re highly successful pieces of content. Like FAQs, how-to guides can increase your SEO because more people at a time search for that information.
You can also use how-to guides to promote your products and services. For example, an eCommerce store with a blog can show users how to solve a problem by explaining how a product or service works.
Buying guides are also some of the most helpful tools you can implement on your blog. If you sell something, a buying guide should be one of your first pieces of content.
It uses authoritative recommendations to help customers make more informed and efficient decisions about what to buy.
In other words, they make buying easier for the customer and selling easier for you.
Using the High Point Scientific Perspective
Ready to start trying some of these ideas?
Remember that these ideas are only as good as your product, services and goals. Without focusing your goals like a High Point Scientific telescope, you’ll have a hard time establishing a relationship with your audience.
For help on improving your start up take a look at more of our marketing guides.
Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.
Human resources can be a tough department to manage. From hiring to onboarding, employee scheduling, and HR compliance, there are dozens of responsibilities being juggled.
What if an employee wants to view an old paystub? How does someone access information about their vacation days or benefits?
Without the right technology, it’s a hassle for everyone involved.
That’s why HR software has become so popular over the years. Businesses of all sizes across every industry are leveraging these tools to reduce bottlenecks and improve workflows in their HR departments while simultaneously improving the employee experience.
Interested in getting HR software, but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place.
The Top 5 Options For HR Software
Namely — Best HR Software For Employee Self-Service
Kissflow — Best HR Software For Onboarding and Applicant Tracking
How to Choose the Best HR Software For You
There’s no one-size-fits-all HR software. Products have evolved to meet the needs of businesses that face very different challenges.
Some companies need a system to recruit, hire, and onboard hundreds of people each month. Others just want something dependable for payroll and benefits.
You know your organization’s situation better than anyone else. Which capabilities are going to make the biggest difference for HR and employees?
Let’s walk through the major features of HR software, and how they can make a positive impact.
HR software with an employee self-service portal is a must-have in today’s day and age. This portal will give your staff access to crucial information, without having to call, email, or physically visit the HR department.
Want to access the employee handbook? Log in and look it up. Have questions about your benefits? It’s available in the portal. Need to request a day off? Just a few clicks away.
All of this information, and more, is available 24/7. So if one of your employees is sitting home on a Saturday night and wants to look at an old paystub, they don’t have to wait until 9:00 AM Monday morning to call HR.
As a result, everyone on your team will be more productive, and your HR staff won’t be wasting time answering questions all day.
The best HR software will have a free mobile app.
This app can be used on the employee side for the self-service tools mentioned above, but it’s also helpful from an administrative perspective. HR managers and other admins can complete tasks and view important information in real-time from anywhere. HR responsibilities won’t be tied to a physical office.
In some cases, you can even use these apps to communicate with your employees. They can opt-in for notifications delivered straight to their devices, which can reach them faster than an email.
Payroll and Benefits Administration
The vast majority of HR solutions will allow you to run payroll directly through the platform. This isn’t necessarily a make or break feature; it depends on your personal needs.
But since HR and payroll typically go hand-in-hand, lots of businesses look for an all-in-one solution for the two.
If you’re happy with your current payroll solution and don’t want to switch, that’s fine too. See if you can find an HR software that integrates with whatever you’re using for payroll. Your HR team and employees will like having access to everything from a single place.
Efficiency is the main concept behind using HR software. Nothing is more efficient than automating repetitive tasks.
Look for software that eliminates manual labor. For example, some HR tools will automatically track and calculate time-off requests, taxes, government filings, and more. Think about how much money you’ll save in labor hours if you can eliminate even just 5-10 hours per week on these types of tasks. At scale, the savings are astronomical.
Another way to narrow down your choices is by looking for software that fits the needs of your business size.
A small business with 15 employees won’t have the same HR needs as firm with 150 employees or an enterprise with 1,500 employees. It sounds simple, but so many companies overlook this aspect.
Larger organizations will have more complex HR needs that some software just won’t accommodate. On the flip side, small businesses usually won’t need all of the features offered by certain HR solutions.
The Different Types of HR Software
HR software is actually a pretty broad term. As you know, there are so many different aspects and components of human resources. Certain types of HR software have been developed to meet these specialized needs.
Here’s a brief overview of the main types of HR software available on the market today.
HCM stands for “human capital management.”
This type of HR software primarily focuses on how individuals are managed within a company in terms of systems and HR policies. Talent management is a large component of HCM software.
It’s common for HCM tools to have features for onboarding, performance management, salary planning, training, succession planning, benefits administration, and more.
Lots of HR professionals consider HCM software to be an advanced version of HR software.
HRMS stands for “human resource management system.”
In most cases, HRMS software will include lots of the HCM software features. But there are two characteristics that all true HRMS solutions have in common—payroll and TLM (time & labor management).
Not every HRMS software will have employee scheduling features, but many do. There are standalone software products for time & labor management that are commonly referred to as “workforce management” software. But these typically fall under the umbrella of HRMS.
Human resource information system—or HRIS for short—is a tool built for managing people, policies, and procedures.
HRIS software typically includes all core HR features. But this type of software will usually have solutions for absence management, benefits administration, recruiting, compensation management, workflows, self-service portals, training, employee development, and reporting.
Lots of this can be open for interpretation from software to software, but these are the core components you’ll likely find in an HRIS solution.
ATS software is an “applicant tracking system.”
This is a very specific type of HR software. In many cases, ATS software gets branded as a standalone product without core HR features. But with that said, lots of all-in-one HR solutions have features for applicant tracking.
ATS software is highly beneficial for companies who are recruiting and onboarding at scale. The software makes it easier for you to find top-level talent, qualify them, schedule interviews, and onboard new hires.
Larger businesses may have separate departments for HR and payroll. But in most cases, the two go hand-in-hand. Payroll is typically considered to be a component of HR. Some of you might already be using an online payroll provider.
Not every HR software has payroll features (although many do). And not every payroll software has every core HR feature.
This is another scenario where lots of payroll solutions are branded as standalone products from HR. But there are plenty of all-in-one HR solutions that include payroll processing capabilities. However, this is usually an add-on package.
#1 – Namely Review — Best HR Software For Employee Self-Service
Namely is an all-in-one solution for HR, talent management, payroll, and benefits. The platform makes it easy for businesses to improve their HR processes while remaining compliant. It’s trusted by 1,400+ organizations worldwide.
The software is actually branded as a “people operations platform.” It includes features for employee management, onboarding, talent management, recruiting, time and attendance, analytics, and more.
I’d say that Namely definitely falls into the HRIS category.
I like Namely because the software is designed to improve employee engagement. It gives your staff access to all of the HR information they could possibly need from an easy-to-use employee portal.
The software can be accessed from anywhere from the Namely mobile app. You can even use Namely to share company news, improve communication, and set up a company directory.
Namely’s core HR package comes with tools and features like:
Performance and goal tracking
Time off management
Employee self-service and workflows
Then there are add-ons and extensions for things like payroll, benefits administration, recruiting, time & attendance, and managed services.
Overall, Namely is a good fit for midsize organizations.
#2 – APS Review — The Best HR Software For Payroll
The acronym “APS” actually stands for “Automatic Payroll Systems.” As this name clearly implies, payroll is their specialty.
But with that said, APS is not a standalone payroll software; it’s an all-in-one solution for HR and payroll alike.
In addition to payroll, APS has HR features for benefits administration, performance management, employee scheduling, recruiting, onboarding, compliance, employee self-service, and more. They also have industry-specific solutions for healthcare, restaurants, wholesalers, nonprofits, manufacturing, hospitality, financial services, and other unique categories.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the top benefits of using APS for payroll:
Streamline tax compliance with accuracy, timeliness, and wage garnishment
Automate your tax system to reduce your burden and risk
Reduce time spent processing payroll with paycheck reconciliation
Automate federal, state, and local tax filings
Improve your efficiencies and reduce costs with paperless payroll processing
The self-service tools provided by APS are outstanding; on the employee end and administrative sides alike.
More than 2,000 businesses across different industries rely on APS. For those of you looking for an all-in-one solution for HR and payroll, APS should be at the top of your list.
BerniePortal isn’t as well-known as some of the other HR solutions available on the market today. But that shouldn’t be a reason for you to pass up on considering it. In terms of HRIS software, BerniePortal really has everything you could possibly need.
For those of you who want to use technology to improve the total lifecycle management of your employees, BerniePortal should be at the top of your list.
BerniePortal was founded back in 2008, so they have over a decade of experience in the HR software space. The software has been deployed in 5,000+ HR departments in all 50 states, and it has 210,000+ active users.
Why BerniePortal? Let’s take a closer look at what this HRIS software has to offer.
Attract and retain top-level talent with benefits administration
Compliance, custom enrollment, and payroll reporting
Improve productivity and engagement with seamless employee onboarding
Collaborative hiring decisions with built-in applicant tracking features
PTO tracking, time-off management, and custom policies
Tools for time and attendance tracking with detailed reporting
Mobile access with employee self-service tools
Performance management and compliance features
You can even use BerniePortal for things like IRS filings. While the software doesn’t have built-in payroll features, it can seamlessly integrate with your existing payroll system.
Most of the BerniePortal features start at $5 per employee per month, with a $15 base fee.
#4 – Workday Review — Best For Human Capital Management (HCM)
Workday is a popular HR software with a unique twist. Every component of the tool is focused on finance. It helps you manage your HR processes while always keeping your bottom line in mind—all from a single platform.
The software is used by industry leaders in a wide range of categories. Some of the well-known companies that rely on Workday include Visa, Toyota, Salesforce, CE, Target, Charles Schwab, and Adobe.
Overall, Workday is pretty versatile. The software has solutions for human capital management, talent management, enterprise planning, payroll and workforce management, spend management, and more.
Workday is robust, but also really easy to use. You’ll benefit from features like:
Automation to eliminate manual work and improve productivity
Advanced analytics to guide decision making
Improve communication and engagement
Machine learning to identify employees’ skills
Time tracking tools
Compensation, payroll, and benefits administration
Employee directories and self-service tools
The software can also adapt as your HCM needs evolve over time.
Another reason why Workday ranks so high on our list is because of its industry-specific HR solutions across a wide range of categories. Some of these include healthcare, government, hospitality, insurance, manufacturing, professional services, energy, and more.
#5 – Kissflow Review — Best HR Software For Onboarding and Applicant Tracking
Kissflow is one of my favorite tools for managing HR processes. It’s a top choice for businesses that want to improve the talent management aspect of human resources.
The software comes with features for applicant tracking, employee onboarding, attendance management, absence management, leave management, and employee offboarding.
With Kissflow, you’ll benefit from features and functionality like:
Get open jobs in front of top-level talent at the perfect time
Improve employee engagement
Employee self-service tools
360-degree feedback and evaluations
Customizable HR solutions
Kissflow is definitely designed for larger teams. Pricing starts at $690 per month, which includes 100 users. Enterprise rates with unlimited users start at $1,290 per month.
The downside of Kissflow is that it’s not a true all-in-one HR solution. It focuses on certain areas but lacks functionality for things like payroll. With that said, Kissflow does have a wide range of integrations, so you can sync it with your existing tools.
Every business can benefit from HR software. This statement holds true regardless of your company size or industry.
But before you finalize a decision, make sure you go through the process explained in this guide. Figure out what type of HR software fits your needs the best, then follow the methodology that I explained earlier.
The five solutions recommended in this guide will be the best place for you to start your search.