Microsoft plans to build “most complete” omnichannel retail media platform

Tech giant reveals ambitions for a retail ad network via offsite and in-store proofs of concept that aim to help retailers monetise onsite inventory and activate first-party data.

Microsoft has unveiled its plans to build the “most complete” omnichannel retail media platform to help retailers enable their brand partners to connect with their audiences onsite, offsite and instore.

Powered by the tech giant’s retail media platform, PromoteIQ, the retail suite will offer new monetisation tools to connect with shoppers across channels.

Microsoft said in a blog post: “An omnichannel platform empowers retailers to meet their shoppers where they are with ever-changing multichannel behaviours and preferences while helping their brand partners reach people at all stages in the shopping journey – all while delivering measurable return on investment through a holistic platform experience.”

Connecting brands, retailers and shoppers – online and offline

The plans, unveiled in full at next week’s National Retail Federation conference, include a pilot release of the Microsoft Retail Advertising Network – designed to help retailers generate revenue from their onsite inventory – and drive traffic in partnerships with potentially thousands of brand advertisers.

Brands will be able to set up campaigns to serve on Microsoft and partner properties and participating retailer websites – driving reach to a relevant audience and improved performance, Microsoft said.

“This is powered by automatically matching retailer products to the corresponding and participating brands and directing interested shoppers to retailer websites.”

PromoteIQ Offsite is also being released for retailers to activate first-party audience data to help brand partners reach shoppers via a third party across the open web and social media, which Microsoft cites as “especially powerful combined with the explosive growth of connected TV”.

The suite of tools includes a proof of concept of PromoteIQ In-store, to help retailers work with content and hardware partners on- in-store retail media activation – with Microsoft working with partners to create an interoperable platform.

Microsoft’s blog continued: “Our investments are improving matching and yield, leading to higher shopper engagement, and creating improved outcomes. With approximately 3X the average marketing return on investment on retail media campaigns, we’re delivering compelling performance results, benefiting both retailers and their brand partners. That’s why nearly 10,000 brands, such as Unilever, created over 70,000 campaigns on our platform this past year.”