The strategic opportunity of where-to-buy adtech empowering the consumer experience

  • December 7, 2023

Amidst the ever-evolving consumer landscape, a dynamic shift is reshaping the grocery industry. With the surge of retail media, the increasing digital sophistication of grocery retailers and the pervasive influence of e-commerce, advertisers and grocery brands are seizing this transformative moment, reallocating investments into the realm of digital advertising and online retail channels at a rapid pace.

However, one consistent challenge remains amidst this noise, keeping grocery brands and advertisers alike up at night: how can they make their media assets throughout the funnel shoppable in an increasingly digital world and ensure easy transactions are within reach to consumers? The holy grail of the notion of a seamless path to purchase has been banded about for years, but achieving this has been fraught with complexity. Enter the game-changer: where-to-buy solutions.

“Where to Buy’’ providers, such as MikMak, ChannelSight and Adimo effectively shorten the customer journey from brand-owned assets – such as social media posts, programmatic offsite display or even owned brand websites – into retailer product-pages, making consumer experience seamless.

This capability not only enables sharper ‘buy now’ calls-to-action in upper-funnel activations, but it hands the choice of retailer back to the consumer, now presented with a dynamic list of in-stock retailers in a world where many digital advertising formats still only offer a single call-to-action and single URL destination. In short, when integrated into marketing activation, grocery brands and advertisers can effectively bridge the gap between media and the online shopping choices of modern shoppers.

Early use cases of where-to-buy technology was used principally on brand’s websites, directing customers into transactional retail environments. However, as the media landscape has evolved, the opportunity to integrate where-to-buy solutions into deployed media, both online and offline has increased exponentially.

Traditional offline formats such as out-of-home advertising and even off-the-wall creative activations such as banners towed from light aircraft have become shoppable, in-part facilitated by QR codes linked to where-to-buy adtech, whilst digital formats such as programmatic display and social media are now just a trackable click away from a retail environment.

Intelligently deploying where-to-buy into new channels is enabling the full consumer journey shoppable:

The integration of “Where-to-buy” (WTB) functionality throughout the entire marketing funnel has now become a reality, enabling brands to transform their awareness media into a shoppable experience for customers. For instance, one of the beauty brands successfully implemented WTB integration on their awareness media campaign, capturing valuable first-party data from over 43,000 consumers without increasing cost per thousand impressions (CPMs).

Additionally, ‘WTB’ allows brands to make OOH ads shoppable through a QR code. Therefore, brands can analyse consumer behaviours through OOH ads, gaining insights into retailer shopping habits and identifying optimal messaging strategies.

Furthermore, ‘WTB’ solutions facilitate making influencer content shoppable across multiple social media platforms, such as Tik Tok. For example, one of the make-up brands achieved a remarkable 38% higher purchase rate compared to other channels.

Apart from OOH and social media ads, innovative ‘WTB’ solutions like MikMak enable the transformation of audio ads into a shoppable experience, effectively also boosting purchase intent among potential customers.

Organisationally, this is much bigger than just media enablement – it’s customer experience:

Looking beyond immediate ROI, it is essential to recognize that the advantages of ‘WTB’ extend far beyond media enablement and sales growth, such as improved overall customer experience.

For instance, when a consumer adds a product to their basket, it opens incremental sales opportunities through audience retargeting and increases the likelihood of repeat purchases through the use of “favourites” or similar features. This holistic approach not only drives immediate sales but also fosters stronger customer relationships and enhances long-term brand loyalty, which is crucial nowadays.

The strategic opportunity gathering 1st party data empowers stronger digital conversations with retailers:

By generating 1st party data on the volume and value of sales, brands gain valuable insights into their customers’ purchasing behaviours. As data sharing between brands and retailers becomes more sophisticated, brands can develop a clearer understanding of the likelihood that retailers will convert website traffic into actual sales.

This information can greatly influence Joint Marketing Plans (JMPs) between retailers and brands, allowing for more targeted, effective, and more profitable collaboration. Furthermore, leveraging first-party data can help refine media planning strategies and uncover valuable product insights, enabling brands to optimize their marketing efforts and better meet customer demands/needs.

Publicis Commerce’s Dan Simmonds notes that “in the short term, where-to-buy tech collapses the purchase funnel for brands and enables a consumer to add to their chosen basket in no more than 3 clicks, negating challenges such as drop-off points and competition they might find on site through a more traditional journey that could hamper ROI. Long term, this will allow brands to identify the retailers that are most crucial to their success and provide valuable data points when negotiating joint marketing plans (JMP). Additionally, by creating a first party data set, brands will be able to identify and target a captive audience for NPD and go-to-market strategies.”

The challenge of making media assets throughout the funnel shoppable in an increasingly digital world and ensuring easy transactions are within reach to consumers has been a consistent one. However, the emergence of “where-to-buy” solutions, such as MikMak, ChannelSight, and Adimo, has effectively shortened the customer journey from brand-owned assets into retailer product-pages, making consumer experience seamless. By integrating where-to-buy technology into marketing activation, grocery brands and advertisers can effectively bridge the gap between media and the online shopping choices of modern shoppers.

Written by Stuart Johnston, Commerce Business Partner, Publicis Commerce and Anastasia Olkhovskaya, Commerce Manager, Publicis Commerce 

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