It’s Time for a Retail Media Rebellion: a CEO’s POV

Forecasts predict retail media ad spend will grow to $61.15 billion in 2024, making it the most dynamic and influential advertising marketplace that could benefit from revenue boosts and first-party data.

From 2021 to 2022, the retail media space gained significant traction but forced retailers to turn to out-of-the-box solutions without set goals to solve their unique problems and meet their custom goals. Now that these ready-made solutions are in place, retailers are noticing gaps in available long-term growth and sustainability. Where 2022 was the Great Media Scramble, 2023 is giving rise to the Great Media Reset. Today’s competition is only increasing, and it’s the perfect opportunity for retailers to put up a fight against how retail media is widely done.

It’s time to claim a stake in this ‘retail media rebellion.’ Let’s break down what that statement means for retailers in need of resetting ecommerce strategies, best practices retailers can implement for long-term retail media growth and sustainability, and how retailers can regain control of platform monetization, achieve parity with competitors and scale business for the future.  

Don’t Compromise. Seize Control of Your Investment

In the initial rush to launch retail media platforms during the pandemic, retailers were forced to compromise growth and sustainability in the name of speed, resulting in partnerships that didn’t quite benefit retailers or keep their best interests in mind. If retailers are to take anything away from these underwhelming partnerships and their shortcomings, it’s that controlling your first-party data sets and investing in your own media networks with new programmatic tech solutions will pay dividends in the long haul.


And the first step to what we’ll coin this “retail media rebellion” is to seize control of your investment by taking back your data. Your data is your biggest asset. Why would you let your tech provider access and use it? Data should stay in your network, and not be shared and learned from by your competitors.

The next step is to take back your revenue. Leave behind costly revenue share pricing models. This is your ad revenue. You should own it, and receive 100% of it.

Lastly, take back your user experience! You should be able to launch custom ad units that fit your site design. And these should be server-side ads, leading to lower latency and faster site experience.

Monetize and Personalize Your Platform and User Experiences, Your Way

The retail media space has become a crowded marketplace, with everyone vying for the same vendors that will give them a digitally competitive advantage. As a retailer, you know your platform and end goals best. But if you’re still unsure on where to start, look inward to pinpoint how you can avoid decentralized monetization strategies that can let incremental revenue slip through the cracks, and capitalize on creating personalized user experiences that increase reconversion likelihood.

Your data is your biggest asset, and you know your customers better than anyone. Leverage that data to show the right promotions and ads to the right users. Leverage it to stop showing the same ad to the same person every time. Use it on emails to ensure the right person is targeted at the right time.

Achieving Parity with Competitors and Scaling Business Isn’t Only for Big Tech

Amazon and Walmart have made large investments in their media networks, and retailers aren’t going to be able to keep up by outsourcing it to one of the standard providers. Retailers need to invest and own their network, and they need partners that help them accelerate their time to market without compromising — because Amazon and Walmart aren’t compromising.

To achieve Big Tech results of the likes of Amazon, eBay, and Instacart, you’ll need their tech…but you don’t need their resources. And you don’t have to build it from scratch. Invest in the right tech partner, one that gives you the right balance of customization and out-of-the-box solutions.

You have something unique to offer with your data. Brands will want to advertise on your platform because you have a unique audience, but you have to be able to harness and use that data.

The retail media rebellion is upon us. Now is the time for retailers to take advantage, to regain control of platform monetization and achieve parity with competitors so that they may properly scale their business for the future.

James Avery is the Founder and CEO of Kevel, a leading API infrastructure platform used to build custom ad platforms. He has over a decade of experience in the ad tech industry and is an expert in software coding and API technology. He is committed to the vision that every online retailer and publisher should be able to add privacy-focused ad revenue streams and take back the internet from Google, Amazon, Facebook and other digital monopolies.

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