An element of a retailer’s website called a retail media platform enables brand marketers and advertisers to purchase ad space on all of the retailer’s digital properties, such as their website, app, and in-store digital screens.

Retail media platforms have the responsibility of streamlining the process by which advertisers can buy and deliver ads to consumers close to the moments of decision-making and purchase, such as search result pages, digital product listings, and checkout confirmations.

Typically, retail media platforms give a retailer’s website the following features:

1. A self-serve gateway for advertising that enables brand marketers to place their media buys without getting in touch with sales staff
2. A variety of retail media advertising styles and formats are available.
3. An application that allows campaign managers to submit and save ad creatives as well as manage product details like description and price
4. A module for campaign reporting that tracks the effectiveness of ongoing media promotions

Even in these situations, the store frequently works with one or more ad tech service providers to meet the demand for the development and, on occasion, advertising. A stand-alone retail media platform is a common term for when a company creates its own solution.

The following are a few examples of large merchants who have created their own retail media platforms:

Technically speaking, the main component of a retailer’s website known as a “retail media platform” is what allows brand advertisers to control media campaigns. A retail media “network” on the other hand refers to the components of a media solution that deal with the supply and demand for advertising.

However, given that we’re discussing ad tech—a field rife with ambiguous terminology—and because retail media is a relatively new idea, it’s not unexpected that the terms “retail media platform” and “retail media network” are occasionally used synonymously.

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