retail media challenges

Top 5 Challenges Facing Retail Media Networks and how to overcome them

According to Forrester, brands spent almost $5 billion on retail media in 2020 while the overall revenue potential for retailers is pegged at over $100 Billion

As a result, launching a retail media network has recently become the top priority for the technology, operations, and monetization teams at most retailers. It gives access to high-margin revenue streams when eCommerce players barely make any profits from the platform sales, given the cutthroat competition in the vertical. No wonder most retailers and eCommerce players are shifting their focus towards retail media networks, and the rising demand from the advertisers (brands) is only supporting their decisions.

But with an acceleration of this scale come the challenges. Retailers and eCommerce players need to adapt to these obstacles to create an ad network that stands the test of time. At least for the next few years before the digital advertising landscape evolved into something new.

Let’s see what challenges are your way to a successful retail media network and what you can do to overcome them -


No doubt retail media has earned a permanent place in the advertisers’ arsenal; with so many choices and limited budgets, brands just can’t put their money on all the networks out there. 

Retailers need to have a thorough understanding of -

  • their audiences, 
  • purchases they make, 
  • platform seasonalities, 
  • average ticket size, 
  • and product categories, 

among other factors, before opening up their ad slots to any advertiser. 

They need to find their niche and position their ad network as a solution rather than just another demand-side platform to run campaigns. They need to bundle their traffic and audience segments and reach out to users who can derive the most value from it and thus stay for a longer term.

Accommodating New Features

As per a study conducted by INMAR Intelligence, new retail media network features like data targeting, self-serve capabilities, attribution & sales reporting, and analytics are in high demand.

So once a retailer or eCommerce player has made up their minds to invest in technology and resources to start their retail media network, they need to be aware of what their technology partners can provide. If they lack in any of these, it’s time to look for a new one.

Retail Media Networks operate in Silos making attribution difficult.

Retail media networks are mostly limited to the platforms (websites or apps) owned by the retailers. With so many retailers launching their ad buying platforms, more and more walled gardens have emerged. Brands, who have been working for years to visualize straightforward customer journeys trying to fix attribution, are finding it difficult with retail ad media networks. 

This challenge wouldn’t be an imminent threat to retailers since there’s not much that the brands can do given the high quality of the purchase and purchase intent data that the retailers possess. 

Yet more partnerships, a combination of online and POS data, and aggregation of retail media platforms in the future would help create a more holistic view of the customer journeys.

Fragmented ecosystem

This challenge is in conjunction with the previous one. With siloed platforms, the overall evolution of the ecosystem is hampered. Marketingdive took a closer look into the issue and suggests that ​​retailers need to come together and align themselves with standards that enable brands to use automation technology or a unified platform to purchase retail media and have more holistic measurement and attribution.

Customer Data Security & Personalization

It won’t be long before users and policymakers start questioning the usage of customer or transaction-level data to deliver targeted and personalized ads on retail media networks. You, as a retailer, maybe the “owner” of the first-party data, but it doesn’t truly belong to you; it belongs to the users. So before mobilizing the consumer data into the ad platform and making it available to advertisers to target, a clear data governance framework should be put in place.

This framework is expected to manage how the data is collected, how users give explicit consent to use the data for advertising purposes, how the data is stored (on-premise) and in what shape it is visible to the advertisers.

Most of these challenges can be tackled when you have the right technology solutions and partner(s) with you. While deciding on whether to build the platform ground up internally or getting an already established retail media monetization solution like Kritter ATS, retailers need to do their due diligence on whether the platform would be able to accommodate future changes, how easy it is to integrate third-party solutions into the solution, data security, and platform scalability.

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