With a raft of customer data, and its large (and essential) physical footprint, CVS is turning its internal capabilities into a product accessible to CPG brands.

It matters because CVS is vast, with company estimates indicating that 76% of the country lives within five miles of an outlet, but to go deeper, it taps into growing interest in consensually obtained first- and second-party data.

Amid the heightened interest in health as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, CVS has launched a media offering, CVS Media Exchange, also going by its catchy diminutive, cMx, Adweek reports.

This will open up access to the retailer’s channels both online and offline, including in-store and e-commerce inventory. Interestingly, Marketing Dive adds that it will also offer programmatic display, online video, social media and search capabilities.

What’s more, it promises to help track the effectiveness of the campaigns run through cMx, using a closed-loop measurement system for both online and offline channels and promises to show value-adding metrics such as brand sales lift, new buyer growth, and brand health.

Naturally, the impetus for such a move is never far from the movements of Amazon and Walmart, whose proximity to the buyer lends it an all-important ability to confirm whether ad spend led to a purchase.

It joins retailers such as Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Wayfair in creating a retail ad business. It was already a major trend in e-commerce but has now spread to the physical realm.

In light of the Coronavirus, the appetite for greater certainty has increased, as one media buyer told Digiday back in April that “post-coronavirus, people are really looking for where the shoppers are shopping. For over-the-counter clients, it’s probably a big opportunity.”

A recent survey from the WFA showed that 79% of respondents now considered first-party data business critical. CVS’s move indicates a similar trend in which high-quality data obtained directly from the consumer has become crucial for brands seeking both effectiveness and safety.

Sourced from Adweek, Marketing Dive, Digiday, WARC