MIAMI – Many retailers have set up media networks to sell digital advertising space to brands that want to reach consumers as they shop online. As retailers become suppliers of advertising inventory to the brands that supply products to their stores, the relationships between the two are changing.

Brands “have a merchandising relationship, a supply-chain relationship. They bring us a lot of new invention and innovation to the products or to the category,” Melanie Babcock, vice president of Orange Apron Media and monetization at home-improvement chain The Home Depot, said in this interview at the Possible event. “Now, they also have a media relationship, and that’s very different than having just a media channel relationship.”

Home Depot in March hosted its first “InFront” event as its version of the upfront sales presentations by television networks. The store chain, which as more than 2,300 locations in North America, invited about 500 people from suppliers, media partners and press to hear more about its retail media network. Home Depot also rebranded the network as Orange Apron Media, a reference to the garments worn by store workers.

“We have advertisements that we sell, ad space that we sell, but we are also here to enrich the entire experience of the supplier within The Home Depot,” Babcock said. “They’ve picked us not just because of the media capabilities, but because of all the other investments that they’ve made as well into The Home Depot.”

Audience Segmentation by Projects

Unlike other media outlets that segment their audiences into demographic groups or personal characteristics, Home Depot also offers a way for brands to reach consumers or professional contractors based on their construction projects.

“That customer data is really hard to find out in any marketplace, unless you are the retailer,” Babcock said. “There could be anybody doing a kitchen right now. It doesn’t matter their age, their demographic, where they live. They’re just in a project, and that data is hard to source from general data providers.”

Advertisers also can use Home Depot’s services manage their campaigns on other media outlets, including Google, Meta Platforms or Univision.

“There’s a lot more opportunity for growth…to make it easier on these CPGs and suppliers to leverage retail media networks effectively,” Babcock said. “There’s so much opportunity for growth, and with that comes a lot of opportunity for innovation, which I like.”

Home Depot is world’s biggest home-improvement retailer with about 475,000 employees and more than 2,300 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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