ISBA’s Responsible Retail Media Framework will accelerate the UK’s retail media opportunity

ISBA has launched the UK’s first Responsible Retail Media Framework, the result of a year-long industry-wide collaboration of brands, retailers and their tech and consultancy partners. Designed as a guide to drive standardisation across definitions, data availability, attribution and transparency, the Framework provides the emerging retail media industry with a responsible blueprint for development.

While retail media has experienced rapid growth and evolution in the UK, brand investment has been slower due to a fragmented and uneven landscape across, for instance, definitions and measurement. 

ISBA’s membership includes retailers as well as brand advertisers which resulted in a collective agreement to establish a cross-industry forum of all stakeholders. Armed with brands’ needs, and working in partnership with Omnicom Media Group’s (OMG) eCommerce division Transact, ISBA was able to facilitate a working forum of retailers and their tech partners to address brand requirements.

The OMG Transact team was able to collate and analyse the retail media offer across many leading UK retailers, both emergent and well established, to establish the Framework as a working guide for all parties, regardless of their stage of journey towards a full retail media offer, or individual tech deployment.

The UK’s exceptional eCommerce environment and online shopping habit, (84.9% in ’23, expected to reach 87.2% in ’27[i]), the largest per-capita activity in the world, makes it one of the most exciting and attractive new media ecosystems to invest in.

The mounting pressure on brands to demonstrate the effectiveness of all their media investments requires the need for retailers to develop retail media propositions that effectively address those brand challenges.

The Framework marks out brand media investor expectations for now, next and in the future. Aware that some retailers are just beginning their media offering, while others are more advanced, for brands, the knowledge that retailers at all stages of their retail media programmes have collaborated in its development, provides them with the confidence to begin engaging.

OMG Transact’s recognised expertise in eCommerce and retail media, allowed it to simplify the brands’ ask for standards that define impressions, data availability and transparent attribution. Despite the famous rivalry that exists between retailers, it’s clear that the industry is united in welcoming brands expectations for a standardised approach.

This first phase of the Framework addresses digital inventory. It is UK-centric, reflecting the UK GDPR principles governing the acquisition, use, management and sharing of consumer data, and is mindful of the range and diverse maturity of the tech platforms deployed by individual retailers.

Quotes from participants:

Mark Given, Chief Marketing Officer, Sainsburys & Argos “This is a very valuable piece of work, with brands investing more in retail media and driving growth there needs to be ambitious and high level goals which can only be achieved with collaboration and tech development”

Phil Smith, Director General, ISBA “The promise of the retail media landscape is welcomed by brands, widening the opportunities for privacy-first marketing opportunities for brand penetration as well as being able to reach customers at the point of sale. But its rapid growth has been slowed due to the fragmentation and lack of standardisation in the channel. Marketers need to properly understand the effectiveness of their media investments in all channels and our members are keen to begin scaling in retail media. ISBA is thrilled to have worked with OMG Transact and a collaboration of key stakeholders to provide a framework that seeks to make the retail media offering work better for everyone.”

Jessica Doulton, Head of Product, OMG Transact “As retail media continues to expand at an unprecedented pace, OMG is thrilled to join forces with ISBA in unveiling the Responsible Retail Media Framework. This initiative marks a pivotal step towards establishing a more unified and transparent landscape for retail media in the UK. It is a further example of OMG’s commitment to assign standards and accountability to the biggest areas of growth in media, and is aligned to the guidance of OMG’s Council on Accountability and Standards in Advertising.

Developed in close collaboration with brand advertisers and leading retailers, the Framework tackles key challenges arising from a fragmented marketplace and paves the way to fully harness the power of retail media.”

Olya Dyachuk, Data Driven Media Director, HEINEKEN UK Limited As an ISBA member it’s been great to be part of shaping the future of retail media in the UK together with our colleagues from advertiser, retail, agency, and tech sides. It was a truly collaborative and action-oriented approach to setting a framework that will make a positive, long term difference.”

Charlotte Murphy, Retail Media Lead, Unilever UK & Ireland “It’s been a privilege to work with ISBA and the wider industry to develop this new retail media framework. Seeing multiple retail partners and brands come together with a shared ambition of driving standardisation across the industry has been inspiring. Retail media is an emerging and fast-growing opportunity, and this framework will play a crucial role in helping us all to work together and further unlock the potential of this collaborative and innovative space.”

Ollie Shayer, Omni-Media Director,  Boots Media Group “The introduction of the retail media framework marks a significant milestone in the drive for standardisation within the UK's retail media industry. This accomplishment underscores the desire within the industry for standardisation and it has been achieved through close collaboration between brands and retailers. Personally, I am thrilled to see it coming to life”

Stacy Gratz, Managing Director Media, dunnhumby “As the retail media market continues to develop at pace, we are delighted to have partnered with ISBA to establish a framework for retail media standardisation. Tesco Media and Insight Platform, with its advanced measurement tools, continues to enable brands and agencies to enhance and target their offerings to evolving customer needs - this will be key to ensuring consistency and improvement across the sector.”

Dean Harris, Head of Membership Commercial, Coop Standardisation is critical to sustainable growth in retail media. We need to find that common language of performance that facilitates smarter decisions, more trust, greater transparency and – ultimately – better advertising. We need to shift the retail media discussion into innovation, strategy, planning, creative and execution. The only way to do that is to stop talking about standardisation. And the only way to do that, is to deliver it.”

[i] Source: Insider Intelligence | eMarketer, June 2023 


Notes to Editors

Project partners:

ISBA have worked with a number of members and non-members to develop this framework, including our partner for this framework, Omnicom Media Group (OMG).


Unilever, Pernod Ricard, Haleon, Kimberly-Clark, Nestlé, HEINEKEN UK, Arla Foods, Pepsico

Retailers & Tech partners: 

Criteo, Tesco Media and Insight Platform, dunnhumby, Nectar360, Boots Media Group, Co-operative Group, Gig Retail, CitrusAd, ASOS, The Trade Desk