By Retail Doctor Group, in association with Ebeltoft Group

The rise of retail media in Australia has been nothing short of remarkable over the past few years. Seen as an increased revenue channel that improves the customer experience, retail media is estimated to generate an additional AUD $1 billion in revenue for Australian retailers. 

Retail media represents an exciting opportunity to unlock new revenue streams, enhance customer experiences, and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving market. 


  • ​​What is Retail Media?
  • ​The Growth Trajectory of Retail Media
  • ​Emerging Retail Media Formats and Opportunities
  • ​What’s Driving the Retail Media Boom?
  • ​The Rapidly Evolving Retail Media Landscape
  • ​Key Benefits of Leveraging Retail Media
  • ​Unlocking the Potential of Retail Media
  • ​Top 5 Retail Media Best Practices​

What is Retail Media? 

Retail media is about retailers using their physical and digital assets – combined with available consumer data – to offer targeted advertising opportunities for brands to reach out to consumers, whether in-store, online, in-app, or various communication channels. Examples include: 

  • In-store advertising: signage and product displays. 
  • Online advertising: banners, product listings, and search ads. 
  • In-app advertising: banners and personalised recommendations. 
  • Communication channel advertising: sponsored emails and newsletters, branded chatbots, and other subscription-based communications. 

The Growth Trajectory of Retail Media 

Retail media is growing at a breakneck pace in markets across the globe: 

  • In the US, retail media spend is expected to reach $60 billion in 2024, up from $30 billion in 2019. In addition, this figure is expected to almost double between 2024 and 2027 to reach a total of $110 billion, according to a 2023 forecast by Insider Intelligence. 
  • Meanwhile, the UK is also seeing exponential growth with retail media, which attracted around 2.7 billion British pounds in spending in 2022 alone. Based on estimations by Statista, this figure will continue to grow by over 20% annually until 2027. 

Here in Australia, retail media is still in its infancy but is set for significant growth, too. Retail media is now an $850 million category for Australian retailers, and could grow as high as $3bn by 2027, says PwC in their Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2023 report. 

A 2023 IAB study found that 81% of Australian brands are already investing in or experimenting with retail media, demonstrating a strong appetite from advertisers.  

Emerging Retail Media Formats and Opportunities 

Another indication of the growing maturity of retail media in Australia is the innovation emerging in terms of available ad formats and media channels. For Australian retailers, retail media presents a host of new formats and opportunities to engage with customers. Some of the newer formats Australian retailers are starting to embrace include: 

  • Influencer Marketing: collaborating with social media influencers to promote products. 
  • Livestream Shopping: leveraging shoppable video commerce on social/retail media channels. 
  • QR Codes: using scannable codes to unlock deals, product info, shopping features. 
  • Audio Ads: tapping into the rise of podcasts and music streaming. 
  • Dynamic Creative: ad content dynamically updating in real-time, based on the shopper and personalised context. 
  • Signed Media: retailers forming exclusive partnerships with brands in certain categories. 
  • Digital OOH: digital billboards, signage, and mall media offering bold impact. 
  • Voice Commerce: ads on voice assistants guiding consumers to purchase. 
  • Connected TV: streaming ads reaching cord-cutter audiences. 
  • Shoppable Video: interactive video seamlessly bridging entertainment with shopping. 
  • User Generated Content (UGC): customers co-creating compelling digital content around products. 
  • Retail Media APIs: open APIs allowing advertisers to directly tap into retail media platforms. 
  • Business Messaging: leveraging mobile messaging apps for customer engagement. 
  • Product Sampling: brands providing free product samples to key retail media audiences. 

As these examples demonstrate, the possibilities with retail media span the omnichannel spectrum. Savvy retailers will continue to test and expand into new formats, leveraging emerging digital platforms and technologies. Those who continuously innovate to meet their customers’ demands will stay ahead of the curve. 

What’s Driving the Retail Media Boom? 

There are several key factors fueling the meteoric rise of retail media in Australia and globally. These macro retail and marketing trends have combined to make retail media one of the most important emerging channels for retailers, brands, and suppliers today. 

The Decline of Traditional Media 

Marketers are shifting budgets away from traditional media channels such as print, TV, and radio which are declining in effectiveness. Retail media gives brands access to key shopping audiences in a targeted digital environment. 

The Digital Retail Revolution 

eCommerce is booming, now accounting for 18% of total retail sales in Australia. As retailers build out their digital presence, it provides expanded real estate for retail media opportunities through on-site advertising. 

Post-Pandemic Shopping Behaviours 

Coupled with the decline of traditional media and the digital retail revolution, consumers shop across more channels than ever before. Retail media gives brands omnichannel exposure across retailers’ physical and digital properties. 

On-Demand Experiences 

Consumers expect highly personalised, on-demand experiences in their post-pandemic lives. Retail media delivers contextual advertising while consumers are actively shopping, whether online, in-store, or offline. 

First-Party Data 

Privacy changes are making third-party data less reliable as more and more consumers opt out. A retailer’s wealth of authenticated first-party shopper data is therefore more valuable to brands looking for audiences that will resonate with their messages. 

Pent-up Brand Demand 

With both cookies and IDFA (an Apple mobile device identifier for advertisers) being phased out, brands have limited ad targeting capabilities on major advertising platforms.  

The impact of IDFA being phased out is tremendous, according to marketers polled in a 2021 Epsilon survey. 62% of marketers don’t believe phasing out IDFA will benefit consumers, while 70% feel that the move will suppress digital advertising as a concept. 

Retail media therefore offers brands and marketers a privacy-compliant way to reach key demographics in their audiences. 

The Rapidly Evolving Retail Media Landscape 

The retail media ecosystem is evolving extremely quickly as brands, advertisers, and retailers earn to adjust to consumer demands. Australian retailers looking to capitalise on this opportunity need to stay abreast of the latest developments. 

Retail Media Networks 

To make it easier for advertisers, large retailers are consolidating their retail media offerings into unified “retail media networks”. These networks aggregate media opportunities from across the retailer’s stores, websites, apps, flyers, and more.  

Some examples include Walmart, CVS, and Albertsons, who have established their own retail media networks. It should only be a matter of time until Australian retailers follow suit. 

Specialist Retail Media Tech Providers 

A growing number of tech companies have emerged, bringing innovative ways that help retailers package and sell their media assets in this new and unexplored digital landscape. These specialists offer capabilities like: 

  • programmatic retail media buying platforms. 
  • retail media management software 
  • retail media analytics and optimisation.  

Retailers will need to look at partnering with these tech companies to accelerate their retail media initiatives. 

Agency Trading Desks 

Media agencies are quick to market, establishing specialist in-house teams that plan and buy retail media programs. Retailers and brands should form close partnerships with these agency trading desks to help drive significant retail media investment. 

Competition in the Retail Media Space 

Australian retailers are claiming their share of the retail media market. Major retailers like Woolworths and Coles have accelerated their offerings, while others like Chemist Warehouse are rolling out retail media networks. As the competition in the retail media space hots up, competitors will drive and incentivise continued retail media innovation. 

The rapidly-evolving retail media landscape is changing. Retailers will need to track these emerging trends closely, ready to evolve their retail media strategies and capabilities to remain competitive. 

Key Benefits of Leveraging Retail Media 

The key differentiator of retail media is that it allows brands to reach shoppers through retailers’ owned channels. Though the focus is on reaching those customers right when they are closest to making a purchase decision, retail media could include other stages in the purchasing journey where personalised recommendations would sway a decision to purchase. 

In addition to this, retail media represents far more than just a new revenue stream for retailers and brands. If leveraged holistically, retail media can be a powerful growth lever across the business, encompassing benefits for advertisers, suppliers, and consumers, too.  

Competitive Advantages 

There are many competitive advantages to implementing retail media in stores and retail networks. Chief amongst these is that increased website and app visits – thanks to relevant ads that drive traffic and engagement. This boost in overall engagement helps retailers stand out from the crowd in a highly competitive environment. 

Targeted and relevant ads mean retailers can offer unique advertising solutions that are unavailable elsewhere, attracting more customers. Also, valuable insights into customer demand means retailers can optimise product stocking based on ad performance, thereby improving inventory management. 

However, it’s important to consider potential challenges, too. For instance, to build expertise, retailers will need to invest in technology and personnel to manage and operate their retail media programs, as well as to ensure data privacy regulations and ethical advertising practices are adhered to. 

Adopting a well-strategised retail media approach can significantly benefit retailers by unlocking new revenue streams, enhancing customer engagement, and gaining a competitive edge. To maintain a positive user experience, it is crucial that retailers balance their ads with a seamless shopping experience to avoid alienating customers. 

Benefits of Retail Media for Retailers 

For retailers, retail media provides a new profit centre that leverages their stores, websites, mobile apps, loyalty programs, and perhaps most importantly, their shopper data. In an era where third-party data usage is declining, access to first-party data allows retailers to offer brands highly-targeted audiences in a privacy-compliant way. 

Retailers can monetise first-party data and sell ad space to brands, targeting specific demographics or interests, without selling any consumer data to do so. Earning additional revenue is easy when displaying sponsored ads on websites, apps, email newsletters, and other digital properties. These targeted ads can lead to higher conversion rates and increased sales of both advertised and complementary products. 

Content monetisation also allows retailers to feature sponsored content that provides informative and valuable resources, while generating revenue. Retailers can attract top brands, advertisers, and suppliers by offering a targeted platform for them to reach audiences that drive actual sales.  

Collaboration brings deeper partnerships on co-marketing initiatives and exclusive promotions, while enhanced brand insights mean retailers and brands both gain valuable data on customer behaviour and brand preferences within the retailers’ platform. 

Benefits of Retail Media for Brands and Advertisers 

For brands, retail media gives them access to coveted shopper audiences during the critical ‘final mile’ of the shopper journey, as well as the opportunity to increase product visibility and discovery in other just-as-important stages of the customer journey. While the specific benefits for brands and advertisers might overlap, there are some key distinctions worth exploring. 

For Brands 

Brands can leverage retailer data to target specific demographics, interests, and purchase behaviours, ensuring their message resonates with the right audience. This means they’ll be able to reach consumers at the point of consideration – when they’re actively searching and comparing products – maximising their conversion potential.  

To increase visibility and reach new customers within the retailer’s ecosystem, brands can boost brand awareness by building brand recognition and loyalty. Additionally, driving awareness and adoption of new offerings is a simple matter of targeting receptive audiences within the retail platform, using product launches and promotions. 

Brands will have access to first-party data to help them gain valuable customer insights from the retailer’s platform that’ll improve future marketing efforts. Closed-loop attribution also means brands can track the entire customer journey from ad impression to purchase, enabling data-driven campaign optimisation. 

For Advertisers 

Retail media offers advertisers a broader reach, enabling them to go beyond brand-specific platforms and reach audiences across various retail ecosystems, thereby expanding their potential customer base. By leveraging diverse ad formats such as banners, search ads, and sponsored products, advertisers will be able to tailor their campaigns to specific objectives and audiences.  

Performance-based marketing will focus on advertising campaigns with transparent ROI metrics that are optimised based on measurable outcomes, combining retail media with marketing omnichannels for an integrated and seamless customer experience. Access to engaged audiences means advertisers will be able to reach consumers actively browsing and shopping, increasing the likelihood of ad engagement. 

Data-driven insights will also give advertisers insights into consumer behaviour and purchase intent within the retail environment. However, it’s important to note that there are also challenges that brands and advertisers must consider, such as platform-specific knowledge, managing privacy concerns, and navigating a competitive landscape.  

Benefits of Retail Media for Suppliers 

Retail media extends benefits to other segments of the retail ecosystem, not just to brands and retailers. Suppliers also stand to gain a lot from this innovative advertising approach. 

Much like brands and advertisers, suppliers can bypass traditional retail channels to connect directly with relevant audiences within the retail ecosystem. This is, of course, a little trickier, with all sorts of ethical considerations. However, the potential to reach new brands and advertisers is enormous. 

By improving inventory management, suppliers can strengthen their relationship with retailers and collaborate on co-marketing initiatives and promotions. But suppliers must be aware of the challenges they will face in this new ecosystem, such as navigating unfamiliar platforms, managing campaign budgets, and competing with larger brands.  

Suppliers can overcome these challenges and leverage retail media to achieve their marketing goals by partnering with experienced agencies and focusing on data-driven strategies. 

Benefits of Retail Media for Consumers 

While most discussions about retail media focus on its benefits for brands and retailers, there are some potential advantages for consumers, as well.  

Retail media can help consumers discover new products they may not have otherwise found. Enhanced search and personalised ads for products that complement past purchases or fit interests would save time and effort in a shopping journey, for instance. Shoppable, well-targeted, and personalised ads significantly reduce the risk of decision fatigue and transaction inconvenience that’s somewhat responsible for abandoned carts, according to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Management, Marketing and Logistics. 

Retail media would also help consumers discover promotional offers and discounts on products they may not have been aware of, such as special deals or loyalty programs. Retail media ads can also provide additional information about products, such as user reviews, comparison charts, or educational content, allowing the customer to feel more in control, while also making more informed purchasing decisions. 

The potential to display shoppable ads, which allow the consumer to directly purchase products from within the ad itself, offers a convenient and seamless shopping experience, especially for mobile users who want to get the transaction over with as soon as possible. 

There are some trade-offs that consumers would need to be made aware of. Privacy concerns, potential for manipulation, and information overload can be overwhelming concepts for consumers to navigate. Ultimately, whether the benefits of retail media outweigh the drawbacks depends on individual preferences and priorities. Consumers can manage privacy settings and ad preferences on most retail platforms to control ads and data collection, keeping them in full control of their retail media experience. 

Unlocking the Potential of Retail Media 

Forward-thinking Australian retailers are starting to unlock the potential value of retail media across their physical and digital assets. The key is developing a holistic media strategy encompassing both in-store and online channels, building a self-serve technology stack, and leveraging first-party shopper data to drive results for advertisers. 

Leveraging In-Store Digital Displays 

In-store digital signage, kiosks, and other display units can be utilised for retail media. Retailers can sell advertising spots on these digital assets to allow brands to reach consumers in-store with targeted messaging. 

Monetising Websites & Mobile Devices 

A retailer’s website and mobile app offer prime real estate for retail media. Ad banners, native ads, on-site merchandising, and dedicated brand storefronts can be sold to advertisers. 

Offering Self-Service Retail Media Platforms 

Providing a self-service interface for brands to log in and directly book advertising placements helps scale retail media revenue. This makes it simple for advertisers to buy retail media without the need for manual sales outreach. 

Creating Audience Targeting Segments 

Leveraging first-party shopper data collected through loyalty programs, CRM platforms, and analytics tools allows retailers to build customised audience segments that advertisers can target. 

Providing Reporting & Analytics 

Brands want in-depth performance analytics on their retail media campaigns. Providing reporting on metrics like impressions, clicks, sales lift, and ROAS demonstrates the value retail media delivers. 

 Top 5 Retail Media Best Practices 

For Australian retailers ready to accelerate their retail media strategy, what are some best practices to ensure success? 

  1. Retailers need to take an omnichannel approach spanning both online and in-store. Media units should be thoughtfully integrated into the shopping journey across web, mobile apps, loyalty ecosystems, digital in-store formats, and traditional store advertising. 
  2. Investing in retail media technology early is key. The right marketing technology should include the tools and platforms that enable rapid testing, optimising of formats, streamlining campaign management, and actionable analytics. 
  3. Retailers must cultivate strong advertiser relationships. Dedicated account management, co-planning retail media programs, and delivering fantastic results will breed loyal retail media partners. 
  4. Structure optimal team capabilities. Retail media requires a blend of media sales experts, data scientists, tech talent, category managers and product marketers to unlock its potential. 
  5. Begin measuring retail media performance on both sides – advertiser results and retailer commercial outcomes. Demonstrating tangible value will justify growing investment on both sides. 

The next few years will see retail media become ubiquitous – with significant implications for how retailers operate, serve customers, partner with suppliers, and structure their organisations. Exciting times lie ahead as Australian retail media gains momentum through 2024 and beyond! 

If you’re not sure how your brand can adjust to meet this evolving trend, collaborate and learn from a partner with over 20 years’ of consulting expertise in retail. 

Contact the Retail Doctor Group, a retail advisory and consulting practice that builds retail channels and increases the performance of retail and FMCG businesses through our customised & transformative ‘Business Fitness™’ methodologies.

Since 2005 we have partnered with our clients to build powerful, award-winning, sustainable, and “fit” implemented retail. Ensuring our clients consistently achieve above benchmarks, build sales and margin results. We stay with our clients to ensure success.

As the Australian elected member of International Retail Experts, Ebeltoft Group, we have more than 20 years of experience as retailers and consultants in all retail channels, segments and regions. Today, members of the Ebeltoft network advise 80 of the 100 largest retail companies in the world.

Want to know more about the Future of Retail and prepare your retail strategies? Schedule an appointment with our Insights division by e-mailing us at or calling 02 9460 2882.