Your Guide to the Retail Media Ecosystem

We partnered with AdWeek to tell the complete retail media ecosystem story. Learn about the key players and how they work together to drive mutual success.
Updated on September 29, 2023

People often talk about retail media either in the context of retailers or brands. It’s a useful distinction, but this either/or approach doesn’t reveal the whole story – that retail media is an ecosystem of multiple players that functions best when all are working together in harmony.

In the natural world, ecosystems require connection and balance. The same is true for retail media—it’s reliant on the collaboration of all parties involved.

Who are the interconnected players of the retail media ecosystem? And how do they benefit from each other?

We partnered with AdWeek to tell the complete retail media ecosystem story. It’s a highly visual, super clear explanation of how retailers, brands, agencies, and consumers all connect and win.

WTF is Retail Media

Uncover the world of Retail Media in our Criteo/Digiday Guide.

Check it out here.

Here’s a brief overview of the key ecosystem players – view the AdWeek graphic for more details:


The supply-side and foundation of the ecosystem. For retailers, the biggest challenge is changing their mindset and acting more like a media company. Once they do that, retail media can become a key revenue stream that offsets the high cost of operating ecommerce. It’s also something their brands are looking for as they move shopper and trade budgets online seeking measurable results. To compete with the likes of Amazon, retailers need new technology and often partner with ad tech partners to get to market faster and be able to scale up as needed.


The demand-side of the ecosystem. CPG, food and beverage, beauty, home, apparel, toys, and consumer electronics are all key categories of brands that are active on retail media platforms. The benefit for brands is the ability to reach shoppers right at the digital point of purchase (just like having an endcap display in a physical store). Brands are looking for retail media solutions that enable them to move budgets around quickly, and change campaigns on the fly in response to market factors.


Part two of the demand-side, as a proxy for their brand clients. Agencies see retail media as the next frontier for services, and they are striving to help brands deliver impactful performance by breaking down channel silos. They are also looking for ways to help their clients diversify their retail media portfolio, while streamlining the number of platforms they have to use to do so.


The driving force behind retail media. Consumers’ expectations for a personalized experience shape retail media’s technology and offerings. Both retailers and brands work together to make sure ads are relevant and the shopping experience is preserved.

The health of an ecosystem relies on each member playing its part. Retailers, brands, and agencies all need to work together to achieve their common goal of increasing product sales. Retail media can help fuel that collaboration.

Understand the real power of retail media, with our Retail media guide.

Ann Pyle

Ann revels in finding the simplest and clearest way to convey a thought. Her favorite word is 'moxie', which she tries to embody whenever possible. She's been developing content strategies and writing for the tech and B2B space for more than a decade. This, along with her SEO and advertising agency ...

Senior Manager Global Content
Subscribe to our newsletter

Fresh sales trends and consumer insights to help you plan and win.