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Establishing a UK retail media trade body, without Amazon

Prediction 5 - A UK retail media trade body is established, but will exclude Amazon.

Last year was undoubtably the ‘year of retail media’.

2023 was marked by significant growth, innovative propositions, and the growing recognition of first-party data as the most accurate and relevant source of consumer insights in the post-cookie era. Investment has followed with retail media counting for 14% of all global ad spend in 2023; 80% of which with Amazon (GroupM).

But, consumers are not loyal to a single retailer; our shopping decisions are influenced by a multitude of factors, from compelling offers and promotions to loyalty programs and convenient delivery options.

Which Retail Membership Services Do UK Adults* Subscribe to? (% of respondents, April, June, and Aug 2023)

For retail media to truly revolutionise digital advertising and establish itself as the third wave of the industry, it needs a robust competitive landscape that pits Amazon against a unified coalition of major UK retailers. History has shown time and again that investment in digital advertising accelerates when advertisers can access a diverse range of media channels through networks and DSPs, rather than being limited to single media providers with fixed audiences and inventory.

My prediction, fuelled by a mix of hope, wish, and dream, is that we will witness a collaborative effort among major UK retailers to establish a coalition for retail media brands into one network. Retailers are already getting around the table for standardisation of ad formats, transparency etc. with ISBA, but I believe it will go one step further, and retailers will align commercially on their retail media offerings by unifying into one retail media network to take on Amazon. Cohesiveness and collaboration will be key, but with brands crying out for more choice with their retail media spending, now is the time for this to happen.

This platform would offer a simple and standardised approach to reaching the most powerful audience, providing advertisers with an unparalleled platform to connect with consumers and potentially capturing a significant portion of the advertising pie from major brands.

While I understand the challenges of getting major UK retailers to play nice, I believe that a group of non-competitive retailers, focusing on different product categories, could potentially revolutionise the retail media landscape and disrupt Amazon's dominance.

Therefore, I hope sometime over the festive period Ken, Simon, Rami and the Issa brothers, were on conference call to a couple of German connects devising a plan of collaboration that meant that could truly take Jeff’s lunch in the UK and really blow the doors off this proposition.

2024 will be the year of ‘retail media collaboration’ to help UK retailers claim lead to the digital advertising arena.