The Future of Retail Media Networks

Two people in a store looking at a phone

It seems like a new retail media network (RMN) pops up every week. It’s no longer just for massive retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart. Lowe’s, Michael’s and 7-Eleven have all launched their own retail media networks in recent years.

In a space that is growing and changing at an incredible speed, it can be hard to keep up. 

Here’s where we think the future of retail media networks is heading for the rest of 2023.

More Improvements for the Shopper Experience

Ecommerce has made it a lot easier to buy things online. However, it’s also made the experience of shopping and discovering new products more difficult. While retail media networks help to solve this issue for retailers, the shopping experience isn’t always the best. 

Too many sponsored search posts or unrelated ads clog up feeds and lead to buyer dissatisfaction. RMNs need to make sure that their paid media is relevant and not intrusive to the point of distraction. Retail media ads need to feel like the online equivalent of a well-placed end cap in a store.

Retailers Will Focus on Making It Worthwhile for Brands to Invest

The growth of retail media networks has led many brands to feel like they are a necessary cost of doing business rather than a good investment for the brand. 

RMNs need to go beyond looking at how many shoppers saw an ad for a product and then purchased that product from a retailer’s website. Retailers and brands need to see the impact of those ads across decision cycles and connect them with in-store purchases. Merging offline and online sales is going to be a big factor RMNs need to conquer moving forward.

Measurement Standardization Rules

Many brands are frustrated with the lack of consistent measurement available across RMNs. There have been calls for measurement standardization in the industry, something that may benefit both brands and retailers. 

It’s difficult for brands to navigate the many RMN offerings now available. Retailers also need to understand that they will find other options if the cost to advertise on a particular network is too high and measurement proof isn’t there. A good retail media network will offer metrics that aligns with company objectives and support a full-funnel strategy.

CTV Will Enter the Arena

Interest in the intersection of retail media and connected TV advertising (CTV) is growing. CTV is another channel that retail media networks can use to target shoppers throughout their entire buyer journey. 

It’s one of the fastest-growing channels right now. A TV ad is still one of the best ways to reach consumers, and retail media helps close the loop.

Finding a way to join CTV and retail media together will be incredibly powerful for brands and retailers. These innovations aren’t too far off – shoppable video ads are becoming mainstream in Europe. We’ll likely begin to see them grow in popularity as more advertisers expand into these channels.

Move From On-site to Off-site

As retailers expand their RMN offerings in the coming year we can expect to see more focus on moving from on-site to off-site media. 

Off-site media spend is on the rise and its growth shows no signs of stopping. Once retailers start seeing their digital and physical storefronts become more popular with advertisers, their next move will be to off-site channels. 

Media networks will begin moving toward a full-funnel approach and expanding to more branding and awareness opportunities.

More Focus on Creative

Most of the talk surrounding retail media networks is about data, but we’re starting to see more conversations around creative and messaging. Expect to see more retail media networks offering creative services.

To stay competitive, RMNs must expand and level up their offerings, and creative services will be part of it. We’ll also see more measurement for creative, such as ROCS, or “return on creative spend”, to help justify the cost of investing in better creative.

Ultimately, RMNs need to evolve to remain competitive and stay relevant. As more retailers enter the space, existing RMNs will need to up their game, and the tech and talent they employ will be important factors in their success. Interested in learning more about how Goodway Group can help with your own retail media network? Reach out today.