FairPrice Group on why advertising in retail is a brand-safe environment


By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

August 18, 2021 | 7 min read

Retail media has proven to be a strategic investment for savvy brands because it delivers on critical key performance indicators. As part of The Drum’s Retail Deep Dive, we find out from FairPrice Group how brands can gain an increase in return on investment or return on advertising spend due to retail media.

At FairPrice Group’s unmanned Cheers convenience retail store located at Our Tampines Hub, the store uses technology to offer hassle-free convenience, where consumers need only to walk in, pick up what they want and leave.

Through the use of artificial intelligence and image-recognition technology, the smart system registers what they took and processes payment automatically. This frees consumers up to be more receptive toward in-store engagement, with content marketing for this store generating 2m impressions.

This is just one example of the marketing transformation of the group’s convenience retail and retail business, which is led by Vivek Kumar, director for strategic marketing and omnichannel monetization at FairPrice Group, who took on the portfolio in October 2020.

“One of our first steps last year was to conduct in-depth consumer research to understand the fast-evolving needs of our customers. This allowed us to adapt and better cater to the diverse segments of customers that we serve,” explains Kumar.

“In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we identified key consumption occasions such as a rushed breakfast, treats for kids after home-based learning or snacks for a cozy movie night with loved ones. Working with our product partners, Cheers and FairPrice Xpress offered 100 everyday products at special prices to bring some cheerful moments to our customers. We also partnered with Mediacorp to bring it to national TV, with a special delivery offer on Grab.”

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Community engagement is also key to FairPrice Group, and the retailer has been working actively to engage its customers in-store. Customers who visited Cheers stores in July were presented a #cheerfulmoments card, designed with a fun message to bring a smile to their faces. It also partnered with Foodpanda to create Cheers Supper Club to help its customers get midnight snacks and drinks to unwind in the comfort of their homes.

“Similarly, we created unique content around Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. Our trendjacking on social media, from #sadlovestories to #marinabaysands in Tennessee, is loved by our social media followers. As such, we have seen steady growth in our social media engagement rate.”

FairPrice Group’s monetization strategy

In early 2021, FairPrice Group launched FairPrice Group Media and partnered with transport company SMRT’s Stellar Ace to offer omnichannel media inventory to advertisers.

This initiative allows the retail group to offer a connected ecosystem spanning thousands of digital screens across train stations and bus interchanges to coffeeshops, food courts and supermarkets, both offline and online.

Aside from the benefit of moving closer to the consumer, Kumar argues there is a lot for brands to like about retail media, pointing out advertising in retail is a brand-safe environment with first-party data, bringing marketers ever closer to an actual consumer purchase occasion.

“We are one of the rare retail media networks that also covers dining locations. Our brands such as FairPrice supermarkets and Kopitiam are favorite destinations of Singaporeans. We see our supermarkets and F&B locations as community hubs, drawing people together on a social and functional level in fulfilling their daily needs.

“We also offer an unmatched network of 550 digital screens across our retail and convenience stores and dining locations. In fact, we have opened up many of our food spaces where the community gathers for the first time to brand advertisers. No other retailer can offer such a wide and diverse network of engagement points.

“With NTUC Link as part of the FairPrice Group, we bring over 10 years of first-party data and unique customer segmentation and targeting opportunities to brands. We also reach over 90% of Singapore households as we are the only player here who can bring a unique 360° attribution model to advertisers. Lastly, we have a fast-growing online e-commerce platform, making us a strong contender in the online grocery retail space.”

Trading OOH and DOOH inventory programmatically

As the key focus for advertisers is accountability for their ad buys, the retailer now offers omnichannel impressions reports for every media buy with FairPrice Group Media. This allows brand marketers to assess the effectiveness of their omnichannel campaigns with FairPrice Group.

In addition, FairPrice Group also offers digital offsite media buys where advertisers can tap into one of Singapore’s largest and most qualified audiences to reach shoppers matching their needs on Google, Facebook or YouTube.

For example, one of FairPrice Group’s advertisers approached the retailer intending to increase sales and exposure of a major beverage supplier’s products in key online search positioning.

The overall goal was to increase sales uplift across the brand, with heavy sales growth for promoted products, and improve online positioning. Promoted products made $12.6m in sales in the 145-day period. This was an 8.7% increase on the previous period, equating to $1.02m in new sales. As such, the ROAS was 2,462%, while the ad conversion rate was 70.8% with 1.4m ad impressions.

Kumar says: “We offer two types of offsite advertising solutions. The first is self-service, where advertisers can deploy their strong digital capabilities to run their own paid ads while committing to a significant budget or minimum expected traffic to FairPrice Online. The second is managed service, where advertisers can invest a minimum budget of $25k in our in-house paid ads that tap into our offline audiences, while optimizing for online and in-store conversions.

“We can do this because we are the only grocery player in Singapore with the capabilities to measure online and in-store attribution. Being a true omnichannel retailer, we have built a 360° attribution model, with capabilities to run wide-ranging pilot tests with our large audience base of 2m+ customers.”

He believes the future is omnichannel and data-led, which is why FairPrice Group Media is combining its channels and first-party data to create a unique advantage for brand partners in achieving growth in sales revenue and brand KPIs. He notes in market conversations, advertisers have highlighted their desire for creative experimentation so they can achieve greater brand awareness. FairPrice Group is keen to partner with brands to create unique, creative executions that are on brand and on strategy, and that add excitement to the customer journey.

“We have started experimenting with creative buys. A good example of this is a recent execution in our Kopitiam food courts. It was a first-ever for us, where we partnered with a brand to create life-sized and highly visible assets with relevant messages to engage our diners. The execution was appreciated by our diners and the results were very positive for the brand.

“It is in both our and the brand’s interest to make the shopping or dining experience at FairPrice Group better for our customers. We look forward to creating more such win-win-win partnerships. Ultimately, the secret sauce is always in being able to pull together our first-party data to find insights that would help shoppers make the right decision. Creativity in how we leverage our data to unlock such revenue opportunities for our partners could be a huge competitive advantage for them.”

For more on the reinvention of retail, check out The Drum’s Retail hub, where we explore everything from livestreaming e-commerce to AR shopping and conscious consumerism.


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