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Inside Retail & The Pistol

Why retail media has become the next big tool in performance marketing

Retailers are sitting on a golden opportunity to create revenue streams from assets they may not even appreciate they own, let alone recognise their true value. 

“Right now, we’re seeing a once-in-a-generation shift that is opening the doors to a major new advertising opportunity for retailers and brands,” explains Troy Townsend, co-founder and chief innovation officer at The Pistol, a leader in marketing technologies and services. 

“Retailers have an unprecedented opportunity to monetise their own assets. And if they don’t, they are leaving millions of dollars in potential revenue on the table.”

The assets and opportunities of retail media include websites, EDMs, apps, in-store media – such as aisle-end or on-shelf displays and radio or TV – along with retailers’ social-media channels like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube, Snap and LinkedIn, and online platforms like Google Search and Google Shopping.  

Townsend likens retail media to a real-time revenue-driving media ecosystem – explaining that it represents a win-win for retailers and brand clients. By turning these assets into a revenue channel, they can collaborate with brand partners, offer them more value and grow their own media publishing ecosystem.

For brands selling through third-party retailers in categories like FMCG or consumer electronics, retail media allows you to tap into rich purchasing signals, boost visibility and improve conversion rates. 

But it is not just about placing an ad on a website or social media channel – by offering a full omnichannel solution, retailers can follow their customers along the whole buying journey. 

Townsend says forward-thinking retailers today are looking for much more than a list of services and a price list: they are looking at transparent working relationships with suppliers so that both parties can see the returns on the money they are investing. And when brands can see the result of their spending in retail media, they are invariably more open to increasing their budget – because the return on investment is clearly evident. 

Embrace the opportunity

Embracing this opportunity starts with calculating the proper value of the assets, explains Townsend. That’s where a platform like TP.Collab comes in. The brainchild of The Pistol, the business has more than 11 years of experience in developing technology to deliver campaigns across digital channels, starting with the early era of intensive Facebook advertising opportunities, the company understands the value and potential returns of the virtual real estate of retail media. 

The revolution of retail media is now moving the same way that traditional marketing spend is moving, which is more towards digital. Solutions like TP.Collab gives a retailer’s suppliers the ability to buy their digital media in real-time instead of by the ad hoc way of the past.

Equally importantly, properly managed retail media campaigns are far more effective than mass-market solutions such as printing and distributing paper catalogues, only a small proportion of which are likely to be read and acted upon. 

“What we are able to do is develop evidence-based campaign strategies which deliver messages where consumers are already engaged and open to be influenced. We can deliver a brand or retailer’s message across an entire ecosystem, right down to the actual point of sale. Traditional mass-media campaigns simply cannot compete with that. 

The timing to move to digital retail media has never been better, says Townsend. Covid has driven a huge shift of Australian consumer retail spending to online channels. 

“When you look at the sheer amount of customers that retail websites reach every day in Australia, any other media like television networks or print can no longer compete with the opportunity these guys have. They have the ability to create great opportunities around their audiences.”

But he warns it is not as simple as just paying to put an ad out there. The platform will work with clients to understand what the brand is hoping to achieve and develop what he describes as a full-funnel strategy, choosing the right channels and balancing the message to get the best returns.  

“Our technology can work on anything with an open API – so in-store screens and point-of-sale media messages can be integrated with social-media campaigns, EDMs, website advertising and even apps used in or out of stores. 

“That’s the real big opportunity that we’re sitting on at the moment. We help retailers connect all their channels, help them understand the concept of a dynamic rate card reflecting the value of their assets and then automating the whole process to transform the retailer into a publisher, so brands can easily buy media off them as they buy from anyone else – and see the returns.”

To be successful with retail media, retailers need to develop an in-depth understanding of first-party data – how to use it, how to segment it, how to handle it with integrity and how to use it to deliver tailored personalised experiences.

“First-party data – which retailers all own – is the holy grail when it comes to navigating the new privacy-aware consumer environment without relying on cookies. So, we’re setting the standard for connecting suppliers and retailers’ data sets to enrich every touchpoint that consumer has with both the product they are looking to buy and where they are going to buy it.”

Equally important is ensuring retailers have the right technology in place by developing sophisticated mechanics to deliver ads, track results and hold them accountable for performance.

“That’s the reason why we created our proprietary tech, TP.Collab. Our technology empowers retailers and their brand partners to collaborate easily and use retailer-owned assets to ultimately increase revenue for all.”

Townsend says the playing field for retailers and their vendor partners has shifted thanks to evolving consumer behaviour – and it won’t be changing back. 

“Ultimately, we see retail media as a win-win for retailers and their brand partners or vendors.”

Reach out to Missy Anderson,  or visit  to find out more about the opportunity and how you can become a leader in Retail Marketing.