Making the (business) case for Retail Media

Making the (business) case for Retail Media


In part two of our blog series exploring some of the common challenges in setting up a Retail Media operation, we take a look at the building blocks of a strong business case.

In July last year, we estimated that grocery Retailers in the UK could be missing out on as much as £1.7bn in unrealised media revenues – equivalent to some £11bn across EMEA. While those numbers might give us an indication of the overall scale of the Retail Media opportunity, they tell us a little less about its potential on a business-by-business basis.

One way to start working that out for your own organisation is via the creation of a business case. Not only will this help you evaluate your current capabilities around Retail Media, it will give any other stakeholders involved a clear analysis of the benefits, costs and risks involved.

The good news is that, for many Retailers, the key components needed to turn Retail Media into a profitable reality will already be in place. And where they aren’t, many options exist for augmenting your existing activity to maximise the value it can deliver.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common considerations, and the questions that will need to be addressed in an accompanying business case.


Every Retailer today owns valuable, engaging advertising inventory. From in-store space to apps, websites and more, Retailers have an opportunity like few others to reach Customers with relevant, timely content across the duration of their shopping journey.

Many Retailers, of course, already utilise these channels for advertising to some degree. As a result, the biggest question that needs to be answered as part of a business case here is not “can we do this?”, but “can we do this better?”.

Historically, most Retailers have included advertising opportunities as part of trade negotiations with consumer packaged goods (CPG) suppliers. But with access to Customer data on an unprecedented scale, Retailers now have a gigantic opportunity to offer those brands a more targeted and personalised way to reach out to shoppers – maximising the value of their media inventory in the process.

The major questions to answer in your business case around channels are:

  • Does our store portfolio give us the ability to execute consistent advertising campaigns in partnership with or on behalf of our CPG suppliers?
  • How many customers can we reach out-of-store through channels such as websites, apps, email or direct mail?
  • Is there a strong enough financial incentive for us to offer this service to CPG brands?

If the answer to those questions is yes, then you may also want to consider maximising the effectiveness of your channels by:

  • Providing your CPG partners with insight and measurement solutions that prove the value of data-driven, personalised campaigns.
  • Adapting your primary ecommerce channels to take advantage of banner ads, search-led promotions and other non-intrusive advertising techniques.
  • Offering CPG partners the ability to book, execute and optimise media campaigns across your inventory using self-service tools or via a dedicated managed service.


As is the case with media inventory, Retailers are in a unique position in terms of their ability to gather and analyse data on Customers and their purchasing habits. If digital media revolutionised advertising by introducing unseen levels of precision and measurability compared to traditional media, Retail Media makes a similarly evolutional shift by allowing Retailers to add real purchasing behaviour into that equation.

As vital as this data is to Retailers for their own planning and loyalty purposes, it can be just as invaluable to CPG suppliers looking to maximise their own return on advertising spend. Put simply, the easier you can make it for them to target, reach, and influence the Customers they care about, the more likely they are to spend on advertising with you.

Monetising data in this way isn’t just about pure profitability either. For your stakeholders with an invested interest in loyalty and satisfaction, they’ll no doubt be pleased to hear that around two-thirds of Retailers who do monetize their data see an improved Customer experience as a result[1].

The major questions to answer in your business case around data are:

  • Do we operate a loyalty card scheme or have customer-level transaction data that allows us to track the relation between delivery of promotions and purchase behaviour in-store and online?
  • Do we capture enough information on our ecommerce channels to be able to make data-driven decisions about Customer behaviour?
  • Is the quality of the information that we hold on Customers as accurate, current, and complete as it could be? Do we hold the right permissions to use it commercially?

If the answer to those questions is yes, then you may also want to consider maximising the effectiveness of your data by:

  • Applying advanced data science to create a deeper understanding of your Customers’ needs.
  • Linking and packaging this data in a way that makes it useful and valuable to CPG suppliers – i.e. by helping them identify target and high-intent audiences or set pricing strategies.
  • Exploring the possibility of using this data to help CPG brands target customers across digital, social and physical channels.

Other considerations

While effective use of data and channels form the backbone of an effective Retail Media operation, some other issues are worth addressing as part of your business case. As with the above, few of these questions should prove difficult to answer.

  • How many CPG suppliers do we work with, and how strong are our relationships with them? How best will we generate demand and become their marketing partner of choice?
  • What percentage of my product sales are own brand compared to CPG lines? In which categories are the greatest opportunities?
  • What does success look like, and how will it be measured? Is it purely revenue-based, or will we measure improvements in Customer loyalty, satisfaction, and the strength of your relationships with CPGs? How will you measure the contribution of Retail Media to these criteria if so?
  • Which departments within your organisation will have a role to play, and are there any skills or areas of expertise that you should invest in?
  • Ultimately, when putting together a business case around Retail Media, the majority of grocery chains will likely discover that they already have many of the fundamental elements in place and running well. The challenge will be not in making sweeping changes or justifying grand expenditure, but in fine tuning existing processes in order to maximise their value – something that external expertise can really assist with.

Next in this series, we’ll be looking at building the perfect Retail Media blueprint.


[1]The Future Of Retail Revenues Must Be Data Led, Forrester Consulting, November 2019


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