Saks Debuts Luxury Retail Media Network to Compete in Digital Advertising

Saks Debuts Luxury Retail Media Network to Compete in Digital Advertising

The e-commerce company claims to be among the first in the category to tap into the fast-growing digital advertising space.

Saks is a comparative latecomer to retail media — dozens of networks are running today, many with sophisticated ad tech that has been developed over the years — but views luxury as an untapped opportunity. While the retail media sector has become a digital advertising powerhouse, most scaled networks are operated by names like Walmart, Target, and Amazon, and they rely on spending from mass-market consumer packaged goods brands.

Luxury draws on a more niche advertiser pool, and the handful of companies that have stood up on retail media networks to date have not left much of an impression. The luxury category has also come under intense pressure amid inflation and global conflict that has roiled once-hot players like Matches Fashion and Farfetch.

Saks has not been immune to the downturn but recently secured additional financing that could bolster bets like Saks Media Network. Pathlight Capital and Bank of America, two long-time financial supporters, provided a cash infusion earlier in April to help the brand weather luxury’s current storm. In 2021, Saks was split into a standalone e-commerce business affiliated with the brick-and-mortar Saks Fifth Avenue department store.

Saks Media Network’s ad formats at launch are focused on on-site display and sponsored product placements, common building blocks for fledgling platforms. Some advertisers, including womenswear brand Ramy Brook, have already embraced Saks Media Network.

“Saks’ Media Network presented an exciting new avenue to achieve our business goals by increasing our brand’s visibility and driving improvements in both traffic and revenue for Ramy Brook on Saks’ ecommerce platform,” said Founder and Creative Director Ramy Brook Sharp.

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A major growth driver for retail media has been the deprecation of third-party cookies, a bedrock of online ad targeting now undergoing a tortured phase-out process marked by several delays. According to Advertiser Perceptions, U.S. ad spending on retail media is forecast to hit $81.6 billion by 2025, representing nearly a quarter of the total digital market. Growth is increasingly coming from off-site programmatic inventory as on-site channels become overly saturated for more mature platforms.