What Exactly is Retail Media?

What Exactly is Retail Media?

A Retail Media Network (RMN) is a platform that allows retailers to monetize their websites and apps by offering advertising space to brands, which can then promote their products directly to consumers within the retail environment. These networks leverage the retailer’s digital properties, such as their online store, mobile app, and sometimes even in-store digital touchpoints, to provide targeted advertising opportunities based on the retailer’s customer data.


Key Features of Retail Media Networks include:


Targeted Advertising: Utilizing the retailer’s customer data, RMNs enable brands to target ads to specific segments of customers based on their shopping behavior, preferences, and purchase history.

Closed-loop Measurement: Retailers can offer brands the ability to measure the effectiveness of their ads directly within the retail ecosystem, providing insights into how advertising impacts sales and customer behavior.

Omni-channel Reach: Many RMNs offer the ability to reach customers across multiple channels, including online, mobile, and in-store, providing a seamless advertising experience.

Data-driven Insights: Brands can access rich data insights from RMNs, including customer demographics, shopping patterns, and product preferences, to inform their advertising strategies and product offerings.

Benefits for Retailers and Brands:


For Retailers: RMNs represent a significant revenue stream beyond traditional retail operations. They also enhance the shopping experience by offering relevant product recommendations and promotions to customers.

For Brands: Advertising through RMNs allows brands to place their products in front of consumers at critical moments in the shopping journey, potentially increasing sales and market share within the retailer’s ecosystem.


One area of debate is whether or not using first party retailer data on third party websites is a part of the RMN ecosystem. Many retailers are pushing this, but the reality is this is more of a data sales play than a true RMN. One key aspect of an RMN is catching highly targeted shoppers at the time they are making purchase decisions. Leveraging retailer data on third party sites can be very valuable, but it’s definitely more of an upper funnel tactic and more akin to a run of the mill audience network. 


Retail Media Networks are becoming an increasingly important part of the digital advertising landscape, especially as e-commerce continues to grow and retailers look for new ways to leverage their digital assets and customer relationships.