Why should we talk to future marketplace operators about retail media? The simple answer is that it constitutes a new revenue stream for them. In practice, the retailer puts forward products from its supplying brands. With quality data that brands can trust, the retailer can capitalize on it and offer brands advertising spaces that are better suited to their targets. Retail media thus allows retailers to generate more revenue.

It is of double interest to them, due to monetization with the brands, which they handle directly, and monetization with the sellers, so that their products are put forward. In fact, today, when brands and sellers think about the tools they can use to communicate effectively in full confidence, marketplaces and their millions of visitors are the natural choice.

Monetizing your marketplace audience: an opportunity to be seized

According to Fevad, over 12 million internet users reported having made purchases on a marketplace in the last 12 months.

This is a huge audience, which retailers have every interest in monetizing, like any other company, by selling their advertising space inventories. For this reason, some of them have created their own advertising network, like Carrefour (Carrefour Links), Fnac (Retailink) or Cdiscount with RelevanC. They can draw on the huge volumes of highly accurate, purchasing behavior data available to them to produce targeted advertising.

However, while the digital transition presents an opportunity, it has also created a fragmented media landscape, with an increase in retail channels and shopping time. Catching the consumer at the right place and time is becoming increasingly difficult; hence the interest in turning to retail media, to reach customers with relevant ads throughout their shopping experience.

In fact, for marketplace sellers, retail media is THE way to better connect with consumers and to turn their marketing campaigns into sales.

Three key media tools to activate in the marketplace

The seller’s objective is to reach customers while they are shopping. To help them in this process, the retailer deploys offers that will allow them to reach their advertising goals, while also helping customers to find the products they are looking for.

In general, the billing method used is cost-per-click. In other words, the advertiser is only charged when a customer clicks on the posted ad. The advantage of this system is that it allows thousands of people to see the advertisement, but the merchant only pays for those who express a direct interest in it.

There are a variety of advertising tools.

Sponsored products for maximum visibility

Retail search, which involves using the search engine of a marketplace, has seen its turnover increase significantly, and has overtaken social, audio, and classic search in terms of investment progress.

According to the Observatoire E-Pub, a study carried out by the Syndicat des Régies Internet (SRI) and UDECAM, retail search, used on the major marketplaces, witnessed a growth of +66% over the first half of 2021. As a result, developing brand awareness, while also optimizing marketing performance using retail search, is now a profitable marketing strategy.

The simplest example is when a customer types the product they are looking for into the search bar, and the sponsored products appear among the first results of their search. This is the fastest way to increase the visibility of individual products.

Sponsored brand banners for premium visibility

Here, it’s about highlighting branded products on the marketplace. Located at the top of the search results, the banner consists of a logo, a catchphrase, and products. This technique, which has been used at Cdiscount, for example, can be used to generate an average of €10 of sales for every €1 spent.

Smart coupons for personalized promotion

Targeted and personalized discounts are undoubtedly the right plan for promoting sales conversions. From their seller interface, the merchant can configure their instant coupon campaign by providing:

  • The total monthly budget, the maximum % discount they want to apply,
  • The duration of the campaign,
  • And the product selection.

The marketplace operator then takes over and offers discounts to the most appealing profiles. They can also, in agreement with the seller, offer discounts only to hesitant customers, to encourage them to complete their purchase. Of course, the seller can simply activate instant discount coupons if they prefer, which the customer can apply directly upon validation of their shopping cart.

All of these campaigns must be measured. It is indeed essential to monitor the performance of advertising measures, in order to optimize them to improve their search position and relevance. For example, if a campaign is ineffective and a product page does not produce sales, the vendor risks losing relevance and falling in the ranking for the most strategic keyword searches for their business.

Retail media: a market for the future

Retail media offers unique promotion opportunities to sellers on the marketplaces that distribute them. With the emergence of new marketing techniques for optimizing sales, the realm of possibilities has expanded considerably. Moreover, the arrival of new regulations such as GDPR[1] and the disappearance of third-party cookies[2] by the end of 2023 are two additional arguments for migrating towards retail media.

After all, the data marketing landscape is reinventing itself, and involves redefining the way advertising campaigns are built.
In conclusion, it looks like the current trend of increasing budgets for retail media is set to continue!


[1] The acronym GDPR stands for ‘General Data Protection Regulation’.  The GDPR regulates the processing of personal data within the European Union. The legal environment is currently evolving to keep up with changes in technology and in our society (such as the increased use of technology, development of online commerce, etc.). This new European regulation is a continuation of the French Data Protection Act of 1978, and strengthens citizens’ control over the use of their data. The new CNIL recommendations require that users be given the choice to opt in or opt out, without their continued browsing being taken as implicit consent.

[2] Third-party cookies: these cookies are placed on domains other than that of the main site, generally managed by third parties who have been examined by the site visited and not by the user themselves. These cookies may also be necessary for the proper functioning of the site, but they are mainly used to allow third parties to view which pages have been visited by a user on the site in question, and to collect information on them, especially for advertising purposes.


Editorial team
Editorial team