Walmart has announced plans to bring advertising into its physical stores, playing ads at self-checkout stations, on TV screens in aisles, and over the store intercoms. The move leverages the big box retailer’s substantial advertising network, which earned $2.7 billion last year, representing almost 30% growth YoY, according to its Q4 2022 report.
Retail media, a sector expected to more than double by 2027, is seeing investment from several large grocery and retail chains. Walmart’s retail media business, partly powered programmatically through the Trade Desk and also featuring digital partnerships with platforms like Snap and TikTok, will now capitalize on the company’s vast scale and customer data to expand advertising opportunities both in-store and online.
The initiative will include the rollout of ads on approximately 170,000 screens across stores, along with 30-second radio spots that can target specific locations and regions. Walmart is also offering sample stations to advertisers, which can be bundled with other ad inventory.
Ryan Mayward, SVP of retail media sales for Walmart Connect, emphasized the massive reach of Walmart’s stores, stating, “we can deliver Super Bowl-sized audiences every week.” Walmart’s earnings for this quarter will be announced later in the month.
Walmart’s in-store advertising initiative is a fascinating example of how physical retail spaces are being leveraged for advertising in the digital age. By integrating advertisements into the in-store experience, Walmart is maximizing its retail footprint and customer reach to create new revenue streams. While this represents an innovative approach to monetizing physical retail space, there could be questions about how customers will perceive the intrusion of ads into their shopping experience. Will they find the ads helpful and engaging, or will they feel overwhelmed by advertising in a space traditionally reserved for shopping? Only time will tell, but the move underscores the blurring lines between physical and digital retail, and how big data and programmatic advertising are becoming integral parts of the in-store experience.