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Engaging Shoppers Where It Counts

Laurie Beth Addington and Kelsey Baesman

person holding credit card while shopping on laptop

Traditional marketing approaches, including reliance on brand recognition, are no longer doing the trick for shoppers. Here’s how to avoid stagnation.

Shoppers are spending less time and money in brick-and-mortar stores, in favor of visiting retail websites at their convenience. As retailers enable advertisers to promote products directly on their websites, advertising dollars are shifting away from mass marketing via search engines to directly impact the shopper at the point of purchase.

Given this shifting landscape in shopping and retail marketing, how can brands move away from more traditional marketing approaches and stand out on retailer websites?

On-Site Behavior

Shoppers spending small increments of time to build their virtual baskets limits the way they interact with retail sites. Search is where shoppers are most engaged today. Depending on the retailer’s search algorithm, a brand may appear anywhere from page 1 to 15, making it difficult to guarantee views, especially from new buyers. This increases the brand’s need to stand out rather than relying on brand recognition and shopper loyalty. Most searches are unbranded, so the field is wide open to influence the purchase.

Most retailers are now offering a capability to sponsor products in impactful placements on their sites to help brands better engage shoppers. These placements include sponsored product tiles and ads on high-traffic pages such as search or the homepage. Be sure to leverage the retailer’s personalization science for additional placements and capabilities that result in higher engagement. As online traffic increases, advertising on a retailer’s site is becoming invaluable to brands so that they can impact households at the crucial point-of-purchase decision.

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Why Sponsored Products Work

Conversion is a key objective for nearly all advertising tactics. Sponsored placements on retail sites see high conversion because the shopper is already in a purchase mindset. Shoppers are accustomed to advertising tactics both on- and off-site, especially if the ads are personalized. Shoppers view them as helpful to their basket-building experience, resulting in strong engagement.

Sponsoring products on a retailer’s site has a strong return for two reasons. First, given that most sponsored placements are on a pay-per-click or view model, every dollar works harder than a traditional mass-marketing approach. Even if the user does not engage with the ad itself, it provides an added opportunity for brand awareness. Second, because the shopper is engaged on a retail platform, they are closest to the point of purchase. This avoids additional loading pages or click-throughs that could cause the shopper to abandon their search. Decreasing the number of clicks for a shopper to add items to their cart increases the likelihood of conversion.

Call to Action

Brands are seeking to employ marketing tactics that help achieve their objectives and provide a return on investment. They cannot assume that shoppers are spending time browsing several pages to build their baskets or that brand loyalty will be enough to guarantee conversion. Sponsored placements on retailers’ sites provide brands with optimal visibility to create an impact at the point of purchase.

Image courtesy of Pexels.

Laurie Beth Addington is the on-site advertising senior consultant at 84.51˚.

Kelsey Baesman is senior consultant of product strategy and innovation at 84.51°.