Self-service retail tools have gained momentum over the last week, as SMBs look to make the digital shift a consistent part of their business. Facebook, Instagram and Shopify’s social selling tools have been met with a positive reception, and now the advertising platform Criteo is giving SMBs access to consumer data and a line to monetizing eCommerce sites through media.
Criteo’s self-service Retail Media Platform will enable the placement of brand-sponsored advertising within retailers’ eCommerce sites and apps. The company aims to help newly online sellers drive incremental revenue by giving brands and agencies the infrastructure and data to manage retail media campaigns. The platform will deliver consent-based, personalized advertising without relying on third-party cookies, which Google says will be phased out in 2021.
“Retail media was already growing, but we have seen an increase of dollars flowing to it in the past two months,” said David Hutchinson, VP of marketplace and retailer optimization for iProspect. “Brands now more than ever need the right solutions to reach and engage consumers on the websites and apps of their omnichannel retail partners, and to tie media spend to sales outcomes. Criteo’s new platform provides the transparency and control we need to meet client objectives.”
According to Criteo, the total market for retail media is anywhere between $15 billion to $25 billion worldwide. The new platform will enable retailers of all sizes to tap into supplier marketing programs that would appear on eCommerce sites and also to access SEO strategies. While Criteo has historically been known as a retargeting company, the launch marks a new step in its diversification.
The other major self-serve announcements have come from social sites and Shopify. While Facebook has not yet released preliminary usage numbers, Wall Street has applauded.
Citi reinforced its Buy rating on Facebook and raised its price target by $30 to $275. The company says Facebook Shops will give retailers more incentive to advertise on the social platform, and notes that Amazon generates about 4 percent of its revenue from retail media ads. “This suggests marketers are willing to spend more on ads when they are confident the consumer is close to making a purchase,” says Citi.
The Motley Fool agreed that Shops is an opportunity for Facebook to take on Amazon. “It can collect more shopper data and more accurately attribute ad impressions to conversions with its Checkout feature. Direct checkout through Facebook should also increase the conversion rate for ads, as it reduces the friction between discovery and checkout,” noted the outlet. “As Facebook users start adopting the feature, storing their credit card information with Facebook, it could create a virtuous cycle – a network effect – increasing the ease of conversion within Facebook versus navigating away to the retailer's website. That will lead to more shopper data for Facebook to target ads and recommend products, just like Amazon does.”
Shopify has released some numbers behind its self-serve eCommerce effort. Chief Operating Officer Harley Finkelstein told Fast Company this week that the company has deployed an extra $200 million of capital to support small businesses via loans and cash advances. The result was a 62 percent increase in new store creations between March 13 and April 24, relative to the previous six weeks before the pandemic hit.