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By: APRIL WAITS

Hy-Vee’s Introduces RedMedia to Connect Brands and Customers 

For years, Hy-Vee has etched out territory for itself as a leading retail innovator. By employing an experimental and diverse approach to ‘finding out what works,’ Hy-Vee has secured for itself multiple innovation awards, demonstrating leadership within the broader industry effort to digitize operations and engage the ‘new customer’ within an omnichannel framework.

It’s in the process of Hy-Vee’s experimentations in customer engagement and effective store digitization that they launched RedMedia, a ‘tool’ with which brands can “access smart tools and customized solutions to directly target millions of customers” within an omnichannel framework. 

Putting it differently, by recognizing a need for the brands working with Hy-Vee to better understand and engage with Hy-Vee customers, RedMedia was born, a proactive effort to impact shoppers via data-driven, personalized experiences in partnership with a range of leading third-party providers and consultants within the industry. 

In a sitdown talk between RETHINK Retail and Jason Farver, Executive Vice President, Chief Supply Chain Officer, and now President of RedMedia for Hy-Vee, he notes that the new retail media initiative was launched ‘in earnest’ within the last year, with a full-time team dedicated to development and support while Hy-Vee navigates its way through the world of modern retail media. 

“We’re hearing a tremendous amount about retail media networks, and it’s been a huge trend that’s been going on [in the industry],” notes Farver. 

“A lot of the brands are excited about the fact that we’ve got a massive reach, a massive audience inside our eight states, but we’re also small enough that they can test and learn with us. So maybe not as high of a hurdle rate to get in and start to test and learn with our retail media network. And I think that’s a big advantage for us,” he continues, further noting that the company’s ‘agility’ is a key component in its innovation success.

The ‘agility’ Farver describes would be that much harder to achieve with a national chain in all 50 states, where testing innovation efforts not only becomes a much larger project but one with far more variables as well.

Hy-Vee fits into broader industry imperatives to keep digitization efforts personalized, both in the sense that customer personalization is key and in localizing appropriately at the regional level. 

He further describes RedMedia as the result of close brand partnerships that seek to “reimagine your traditional supplier-partner agreement” as a kind of joint business planning that brings together merchandising and media conversations, an aspect of RedMedia’s approach that informs its omnichannel orientation. 

Going into 2024, retail managers’ tech strategy should align with some of the more recent thinking on what exactly an omnichannel, digitally transformed retail company actually looks like: a unification of differing silos into a coherent engagement strategy where all relevant data can more seamlessly talk to and inform each other. 

Initiatives like RedMedia provide an example into one of the many paths modern retailers can seek to do just that.