Feeling FOMO? How Specialty Retailers Can Get into the Retail Media Game

June 12, 2024

It’s easy to look at the retail media networks built by Amazon and Walmart and presume they have cornered the market, but it is much more likely they are the tip of the spear. Specialty retailers, with their highly valuable and focused audiences, will be the “long tail” of what many are describing as the biggest wave to hit advertising since social media

The Retail Media Opportunity

Specialty retailers will be concerned about costs, resources, customer privacy, and preserving the shopping experience. That’s why choosing the right partner is so important. A post-purchase ad network is a good example of how smaller, more specialized retailers can jump into the retail media wave with little risk. And the upside is very promising:

Additional Revenue Stream: With thin margins and increased competition, many retailers will welcome a new revenue stream. Depending on the number of monthly transactions, the revenue can be significant.  

Enhanced Customer Experience: Carefully curated offers can enhance the customer experience with relevant and useful offers, such as a discount on gourmet cooking classes after completing an order with a specialty grocery store.

Data Monetization: Retailers can leverage their customer data to offer highly targeted advertising opportunities. This not only makes the ads more effective but also increases their value to advertisers.

Increased Average Order Value: Retailers can refine their cross-sell and upsell strategy with access to advanced analytics derived from running advertising on their sites.

Best Practices for Launching a Retail Media Strategy

Retailers have a lot on their plate, and being a media partner is not always at the top of the list. But if they carve some time for a little housekeeping, a lot of the strategy will naturally fall into place. Here are some initial steps: 

Evaluate Your Digital Channels: Assess your digital properties to determine the best ad positions. Ones with high traffic or engagement, like homepages, product pages, or checkout confirmation pages, are a good place to start. Consider when the ads would be most welcome without adding friction to the shopping experience.

Choose an Advertising Format: Decide on the types of ads you want to display. Options include banner ads, pop-ups, native ads, and sponsored content. The format you choose should align with your brand and customer preferences. 

Set Clear Content Guidelines: Develop clear guidelines for the types of ads you will accept. This ensures that the ads align with your brand values and do not detract from the customer experience.

Partner with an Ad Network: To simplify the process, consider partnering with an ad platform that can manage the technical aspects including serving ads, delivering reports, troubleshooting, etc.

Monitor Performance: Regularly review ad performance to ensure they are delivering value. Look at metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and overall revenue generated from advertising.

Tips for Prioritizing the Customer Experience

Strong customer relationships are the most valuable asset a retailer can have. To protect the customer experience, retailers should remain aware of the following tips:

Ad Frequency: Avoid overwhelming your customers with too many ads. A few well-placed ads can be more effective than bombarding customers with constant advertising.

Test and Iterate: Continuously test different ad placements, formats, and partners to see what works best. Use the data to make informed decisions and improve the effectiveness of your advertising strategy.

Protect Customer Privacy: Be transparent about data usage and ensure that you and your partners comply with privacy regulations. Customers should feel confident that their data is being used responsibly.

Use Cases for Specialty Retailers

To better understand the potential for retail media among specialty retailers, consider the following real-world examples.

  • A boutique fitness studio with an app for booking classes includes ads for health and wellness products. Brands offering yoga mats, fitness apparel, or nutritional supplements can advertise directly to the studio’s health-conscious clientele.
  • An online store specializing in eco-friendly products features ads from sustainable brands. These ads resonate with the store’s environmentally conscious customers, creating a synergistic relationship between the store and the advertisers.
Learn How Specialty Retailer, Fresh Clean Threads, Partnered with Fluent to Launch a Post-Purchase Ad Strategy


Accepting advertising is not just a way to earn extra income; it’s a strategic move to stay competitive in the rapidly changing retail landscape. Specialty retailers who take advantage of this opportunity can drive growth, build stronger customer relationships, and ensure long-term success.

Ready to get into the retail media game? Get in touch with us here.

Check out more resources to get fluent in:

Commerce Media | Retail Media | Post-Transaction Advertising