Woolworths, Coles retail media earnings soar

Woolworths has recorded a surge in revenue from its Cartology business, which uses its loyalty schemes and internal shopping data to target ads to customers while they shop in-store or online.

In its results announcement this morning, Woolworths said revenue for the 2023 financial year from Cartology was up 29%, compared to a year earlier.

Cartology is a key plank of the grocery giant’s digital and artificial intelligence push. The group said it had achieved record levels of digital traffic across its platforms with the Woolworths and Everyday Rewards app overtaking the web in terms of digital traffic. 

Cartology is fast becoming a major competitor to media and technology companies, as well as out-of-home players. Last year, Woolworths bought retail digital media company Shopper Media Group for $150 million cash. It included a national screen network of more than 2000 screens in more than 400 shopping centres. 

Elsewhere, Woolworths’ main competitor Coles reported a 27% increase in media income for its Coles 360 division yesterday, thanks to “accelerated investment in product innovation, technology and talent”.

Coles declined to put a specific dollar figure to its media income growth. However, together with reduced COVID-19 costs, the delivery of Smarter Selling benefits and lower tobacco sales, Coles 360 contributed to an improved gross margin of 26.4% this financial year.

These were the first full-year earnings delivered by Coles’ new CEO, Leah Weckert, and after the appointment of chief customer officer, Amanda McVay. The latter also has the CMO remits that were within Lisa Ronson’s role.

Following the rebrand of Coles 360 in October 2022, Jonathan Hopkins, founder partner of owned-media specialist agency Sonder Media, said the division has levelled its first year of operations for further upscale.

“It has added a lot of media sophistication to their existing operations – in terms of rates, in terms of transparency around their solutions, as well as hiring people and setting up their process,” he said.

“You’ll see more and more digital screens at entry and exit points in Coles in the future, I would have thought that’s the obvious low-hanging fruit.”


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