Dollar Tree Launches Its Retail Media Network (We May Have Just Hit Peak Retail Media Network)

The CPMs better be $1. On Thursday, Dollar Tree became the latest retailer to launch its own retail media network for its subsidiary, Family Dollar.

The CPMs better be $1.

On Thursday, Dollar Tree became the latest retailer to launch its own retail media network for its subsidiary, Family Dollar.

The network, called Chesapeake Media Group, (Dollar Tree’s headquarters are located in Chesapeake, Virginia) joins the ranks of Walgreens, Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, Target/Roundel, Kroger, Best Buy and The Home Depot, all of which have recently rolled out media networks of their own.

There’s a reason retail media ad networks are coming out of the woodwork.

With third-party cookies on the way out and privacy regulations on the way in, now is an opportune time for retailers to take advantage of their first-party data, brand recognition and customer relationships to attract CPG brand dollars.

Dollar Tree operates more than 15,600 physical stores across the US and Canada (nearly 8,000 of which are Family Dollar locations) and has registered roughly 14 million users in its Family Dollar Smart Coupons Program.

The purpose of the new media group is to provide Dollar Tree's CPG brand partners "with a customized platform that enhances their relationships with millions of households through a real-time digital experience,” said Michael Witynski, CEO and president of Dollar Tree.

Mobile ad platform Aki Technologies and retail tech provider Swiftly Systems are partnering with Family Dollar to support the Chesapeake platform.

Swiftly is providing the technology that allows Family Dollar to run media across its owned-and operated assets, including sponsored search, digital coupons, category takeovers and product recommendations in the Family Dollar app and on the website.

And Aki is facilitating targeted ad buys to reach shoppers with off-platform digital media, including personalized video, interstitials, expandable rich media, standard banners and contextually relevant ads across desktop, connected TV and digital out-of-home inventory.

“Most retailers are sitting on lots of unused data that could yield valuable insight about their shoppers,” said Chris Dungan, VP of strategic accounts at Aki. “Retailers understand they have an audience – their customers – and that their audience is valuable. Retail media networks help them unlock that unrealized value.”

Family Dollar’s CPG partners will also be able to amplify their messaging with push notifications, email and on social media.

That all sounds great on paper.

The challenge, however, is that even if retailers offer up tens of millions of loyalty members and add the ability to reach them off-platform, they can’t even begin to match the scale of Google, Facebook and Amazon, et al.

There’s also the question of whether ad buyers will have the appetite to plug into what amounts to yet another walled garden.

But retailers have an ace up their sleeves: closed-loop reporting.

Full-funnel reporting is a surefire way to an ad buyer’s heart and into an advertiser’s media plan.

As part of its ad network offering, Chesapeake Media Group says it will tie online promotion to in-store sales, which is possible thanks to its large footprint of brick-and-mortar locations.

The new network will also offer analytics to track impressions, clicks, coupon-clip rates, product sales and overall ROI, and provide attribution modeling.

"The robust data and analytics enable us to evaluate and optimize plans to maximize our investment," said Jayme Jansky Beck, head of shopper marketing, grocery and emerging channels at Unilever, which has been working with the Chesapeake Media Group.

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