Exploring the changing landscape of retail media: insights from Nectar360’s Digital Media Director, Alice Anson

6 mins

Alice has spent her career in digital and ecommerce, working with brands such as Amazon, L’O...

By Eda Osman

Marketing Manager

Alice has spent her career in digital and ecommerce, working with brands such as Amazon, L’Oréal, lastminute.com and more. She’s been with Nectar360 for the past five years heading up its digital media business. Her long tenure is testament to a people-first business that is not afraid to take risks or harness entrepreneurial spirit.

As Alice explains, the retail media journey has evolved beyond recognition over the past five years and in 2024, we’ll continue to see a great deal of change, from continued innovation to accelerated and solidified offerings. 

So first off, how did we get here?

Retail media: an old concept brought to life with modern data

I always say that retail media is actually a really old concept,” explains Alice. “If you think back to shopper marketing, it’s been around for years. But the evolution of retail media has really come from the connection with the data points.”

The impact on retail media of connecting up data - and particularly first-party loyalty data - has enabled businesses like Nectar360 to serve super-targeted advertising to customers that are relevant to them. 

That means they have a really personalised experience with your brands, on-site, off-site, in-store with digital screens,” Alice adds.

When it comes to ad spend across Nectar360, Alice notes that most customers - as many as 80% - are still loyal supermarket shoppers. As a result, the in-store environment is still crucial to the business and its advertisers. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities in the digital environment. 

Alice says: “We launched our digital trading platform (DTP), which is our offsite product, around two years ago now, and we’re definitely seeing that pick up.”

Innovations in retail media

According to Alice, the digitisation of the in-store environment is on the rise.

I think over the next twelve months, we’ll start to see much more of an acceleration within that store environment,” she says. 

And it’s not just about replicating old cardboard tactics in a digital format. It’s about making smart digital connections such as mobile activations, push messages, digital scanning and so on - and then being able to utilise those data points across the store to understand more about the shopping journey. 

Despite frequent innovations, many retailers in the space now have similar capabilities. The key is differentiation. Referring to a recent report from The Mars Agency, Alice comments, “All the big players were pretty much on an even playing field. I think for us at Nectar360, the differentiation comes from that partnership with our clients.

But relationships with partners aren’t the only way Nectar360 is looking to differentiate in the retail media industry. “I think the differentiation also comes from the data, and the reporting elements of it.” Alice notes a heightened emphasis on data reporting within the past six to eight months, “with the recent ISBA announcement around these kind of measurement standards, I think we’ll start to see more within that space of different retail brands carving their niches.”


Regarding customer loyalty, Alice believes gamification is a key element for engaging customers. As part of its pre-Christmas 2023 campaign, Nectar360 launched a digital advent calendar. 

Getting shoppers engaged every day with the chance to win points - that's really vital,” says Alice.

Another gamification tactic Nectar has been trying out is data playback.  “So at the beginning of the year, you get that kind of lozenge within the app that says, you were the number-one shopper of chicken in your local store. Customers love that.” 

Alice predicts this type of engagement will incentivise customers to “outperform” their previous years’ data playback results.


Alice is also personally interested in the direction of sustainability within the retail media supply chain. 

We've been talking about that for years in the programmatic supply chain,” she says. “Effectively, retail media is the same thing. I think as we look at the world, and some of the issues that we're going to be faced with in the future, getting control of our carbon footprint and how we reduce that is going to be vital.

The next steps in retail media

Alice predicts the direction of travel for retail media in 2024 will involve more innovation but, perhaps more importantly, solidified offerings, saying: “I think retail media businesses are now getting to grips with what it is they want to offer and where their differentiation is.”

Indeed, 2023 was a turbulent year for many businesses, but from an advertiser’s perspective, the demand for advertising in retail media is still there, at least within Nectar360, “because there's that link back to sales in everything that we do. Brands are finding it much easier to kind of justify that investment spending in a world where margins are being hit more and more”.

The reason for this stable demand, Alice says, is because you can show it works. 

You can put a piece of paper in front of your CMO that says this delivered this, versus TV that had this reach. It's a no-brainer when you're armed with the data to make an A or B decision.

To find out more about the state of retail media, listen to the full story here.

You can find the full episode and more on our Life in Digital podcast. To find out more about retail media and business growth through loyalty data, visit Nectar360.

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