Three things to consider when building a retail media strategy

Three things to consider when building a retail media strategy
Opinion: Strategy Leaders

Brands looking to explore investing in “the sleeping giant” that is retail media, should consider a framework for their strategy.

There’s a lot of noise around retail media at the moment — and for good reason. GroupM’s latest This Year Next Year forecast predicted that retail media will exceed TV advertising revenue by 2028.

What’s more, just by the end of 2023, GroupM expects retail media to account for $125.7bn in global media spend.

As the importance of first party data to advertisers skyrockets, retailers are finding that their unique, consented and opted-in customer data is of significant value to advertisers.

While commerce media has been part of media plans in some form for years now, it’s only in the past few years that the importance of the rich datasets of retailers for non-endemic brands has been truly understood.

GroupM identified retail media as a key pillar of media plans long ago — and this is a reason I am so excited to join the team. As such, we have been developing capabilities across this space as part of GroupM’s Responsible Investment Framework, the guiding principles behind each of the Group’s investments.

I see the current hype around retail media as an opportunity to optimise the effectiveness it can deliver, without the bias or preconception that comes with ‘owning’ retail media properties.

Retail media is an important part of many media plans, but it requires an objective approach, with each brand needing a bespoke strategy to drive their business KPIs.

From my perspective, there are three principles that really matter within the commerce space. Advertisers looking to explore investment in this area should look to build a strategy that is centred around the following:


Being platform neutral is essential within commerce to drive effective results. Any advertiser in this space must take a holistic view of all of the opportunities available and be prepared to dial these up or down depending on a brand’s shifting needs.

Each brand has differing requirements and business KPIs and so a bespoke approach that speaks to your desired outcomes is key, rather than retrofitting existing solutions.

Retail media is a fast-changing, dynamic market — being agile means being able to test and learn quickly and avoid overcommitting to volatile networks or pieces of technology. This approach enables extracting the best from any and each partner in a given campaign or activation, building custom solutions that leverage the best of the retail media ecosystem rather than an over-reliance on a single stack.


Retailer data can and often should underpin the holistic media plan for many businesses. As I highlighted, retail media offers a rich and diverse set of consented first party data which can be used across CTV, DOOH and many other channels.

The key here is to understand that retail media is about more than just one big retailer, or even three big retailers in a given market. There are a spectrum of businesses from Amazon to Uber, Tesco to Curry’s, and quick commerce apps such as Deliveroo, which can provide rich insights on their customers and ways of connecting with them. There are of course technologies available to help simplify this process.

While it’s been a given for some time that endemic advertisers will leverage retailer data to get in front of the right customers on-site, it’s increasingly the case that non-endemics will rely on it, too.

Commerce media intersects with every major advertising channel and its customer data can be leveraged across the entire customer journey, giving advertisers a full-funnel view rather than keeping retail media siloed into ‘lower funnel activity.’


While there are a lot of positive things to say about retail media, no solution is perfect. Attribution and measurement standards need to be dramatically improved in retail media in order for the sector to achieve its full potential. This is a key focus of ours at GroupM; we’re working closely with industry stake-holders including IAB Europe to drive this forward.

To that end, as part of the Responsible Investment Framework, GroupM has created standards around brand safety and we’re working on standards around viewability and verification.

Through collaborative efforts, it has worked to devise shared technology solutions and establish measurement frameworks and standard definitions so that brands can connect with people in a brand-safe environment.

The sleeping giant that is retail media is starting to awaken, with investment in this space ramping up.

As the landscape diversifies into new digital products and interfaces, it’s important to work with agency partners that can leverage relationships with a variety of retailers and the technological expertise to ensure both the safety and success of your brand.

David Fieldhouse is head of commerce at GroupM Nexus UK.

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