Explore the all-new AisleOne personalization solution.
3 Important Pillars of a Successful Online Grocery Store Advertising Program

3 Important Pillars of a Successful Online Grocery Store Advertising Program

Online advertising for grocery stores sets industry highs with Mercatus Digital Advertising, increasing eCommerce revenue for regional grocers like Weis Markets.

The pandemic has driven consumers online in numbers never seen before, and advertisers have no choice but to meet them there. With print circulars and shopping cart advertising no longer being the default way to grab buyers’ attention, CPG companies, in particular, recognize the importance of online advertising programs for grocery, which allows them to reach their market at the time and place when they are actively making decisions and completing food purchases.

Digital supermarket advertising provides retailers as well as advertisers with the flexibility to meaningfully engage with their consumers and organically influence their purchase decisions, without hampering their overall shopping experience. 

Until recently, only the big players like Amazon, Walmart, Target, and delivery-provider marketplaces like Instacart have tapped into the profitability of digital grocery ads in a significant way. But Digital Advertising on the Mercatus platform is now empowering regional grocers to monetize their eCommerce experience and boost their brand awareness. What remains to be seen is how regional players leverage digital grocery store advertising to boost their basket size, drive advertising spend, and build consumer loyalty. 

The results are undoubtedly impressive, adding a lucrative (and easy) new revenue opportunity to the digital grocer’s toolkit that improves contribution margin. In our latest case study, we share what went behind building our retail client Weis Markets’ record-breaking grocery store advertising program with Mercatus Digital Advertising. Here’s a quick rundown of the same: 

How Weis Markets Cracked the Code to Driving Success With Grocery Store Advertising

Weis Markets is a regional grocer with over 190 stores in the Eastern part of the United States and just like most grocery stores, they too have seen a massive uplift in their online shopper base over the past couple of years. 

The opportunity Weis Markets observed and seized was completely game-changing. Due to the shift in consumer behavior forced by the pandemic, it was clear that consumer packaged goods companies were moving their ad investments away from traditional channels and towards digital. Weis Markets wanted to monetize its own eCommerce platform so it could generate an alternative revenue stream by tapping into national CPG digital ad spend. 

However, Weis Markets was sure that they did not want to compromise on their online shopping experience and force-feed their shoppers’ ad after ad, in order to make advertising dollars. They wanted their ads to be a part of shoppers’ organic experience and hence they relied on native ads that would seamlessly blend into the page and add to what it was offering. 

In the first three months after launching digital grocery store advertising on their site with Mercatus, Weis Markets was already seeing impressive results:

  • An average click-through rate (CTR) of 2.58%, which is 5x higher than Google Display Network eCommerce ads
  • 7% of all online orders included at least one advertised item

How was it that they were already surpassing Google’s advertising performance in such a short time? It boils down to 3 major factors that are the real reason behind driving such spectacular results: 

  1. An engaging online shopping experience on Weis Markets’ digital grocery store.
  2. Digital ads that enhance the overall basket-building experience, instead of distracting buyers from it.
  3. Supermarket advertising placements that generate a high Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) for CPGs.
1. Weis Markets’ Persistent Efforts Towards Engaging Shoppers on Their Digital Properties 

When Weis Markets launched their eCommerce site and mobile app with the Mercatus platform in 2017, they made a key investment into the growth of their business online. But simply offering eCommerce is not enough to build that line of business. Grocers need to drive shoppers to their eCommerce sites and the experience they offer needs to entice shoppers to make a purchase when they get there.

The team at Weis Markets works closely with Mercatus to continually improve the online shopping experience for their shoppers. And at the same time, they invest in marketing their eCommerce site and app to their shoppers, so they can build brand awareness and continually generate traffic to their sites and grow their online sales. 

Unlike traditional print and in-store shopping cart advertising, when it comes to digital grocery store advertising, the more shoppers on the site who are engaged, viewing, and clicking on ads, the more revenue that grocers will generate from advertising. This is an important factor in Weis Markets’ digital advertising program success.

2. Leveraging Highly Targeted Native Advertisements that Enhance the Overall Basket Building Experience

Needless to say, traditional media advertising is known to employ ads that distract buyers from the online shopping experience. As we outlined in another blog post about How Digital Grocery Advertising Boosts Your Bottom Line, these ads either send a user away to a landing page or to an entirely different site, making them ineffective at increasing sales or conversions for retailers or CPG advertisers.

With digital grocery store advertising on the Mercatus platform, Weis Markets only serves targeted native ads to their shoppers. These ads match the look, feel and function of the grocer’s site and fit naturally into the overall page design. Therefore, instead of disrupting the online shopping experience, they add to it and offer real value in terms of product choices and deals, and promotions. All the products advertised are relevant to shoppers’ search queries and their respective categories and can be easily added to the cart with a single click, never directing the shopper away from the grocer’s site. This makes it easy for shoppers to find products from their favorite brands and build their baskets faster, with utmost convenience. 

Online advertising for grocery on Weis Markets' site

And with highly engaging ads that enhance the basket-building experience, Weis Markets enjoyed increased sales and digital supermarket advertising revenue, reaching an average 5.03% CTR in February 2021.

3. Attracting CPG Advertisers with Relevant Ad Placements and a Higher ROAS

Online grocery store advertising is uniquely appealing to national brand advertisers because shoppers visit eGrocery sites with high intent to purchase. This results in high click-through rates and conversion rates, and therefore high return-on-ad-spend (ROAS).

Return on ad spend (ROAS) refers to the amount of revenue earned through a campaign for each dollar spent. It is an important metric for grocers to be aware of because it’s a measurement that CPGs use to evaluate the overall success of a campaign. A higher ROAS encourages CPGs to continue investing in digital grocery store advertising on a particular site, which in turn leads to higher revenues for that grocer. In effect, it has the potential to create a sort of “virtuous circle” whereby success begets further success.

Online advertising for grocery benefit for ROAS

The Mercatus Digital Advertising solution is conducive to a higher ROAS for many reasons:

  • It targets grocery shoppers at the place where they already have a high intent to purchase (on retailers’ eCommerce platforms).
  • It makes it easy for shoppers to add an item to their basket in a single click (just like they would add products from organic search results).
  • It provides results to advertisers in real time, allowing them to optimize an ad campaign if necessary to ensure improved results. 

An ongoing campaign for Kraft Heinz was one of the many successful native advertising campaigns that Weis Markets ran through Mercatus Digital Advertising. This campaign achieved a record-setting 1999% ROAS in January 2021. This far surpassed the average ROAS of Google Display Network eCommerce Ad campaigns, which sits at 400%.

What does this campaign’s success mean for Weis Markets? Continued investment in a robust advertising program on their eCommerce site by a national CPG. And for any regional grocer that plans to enhance its omnichannel presence, this is a huge win that promises a dedicated revenue stream that can offset the cost to serve online customers.

A Closer Look into the Unparalleled Benefits of Online Advertising for Grocery Stores

Today’s average grocery shopper has come to demand extraordinary grocery buying experiences, whether they are shopping in-store or online. As traditional grocery stores look to expand their eCommerce business and enhance their omnichannel footprint, it’s vital that they focus on building a quality online shopping experience to engage and retain customers. 

With the Mercatus Digital Advertising program, grocers can achieve that goal while capturing CPG advertising spend online, just like they did with print flyers and shopping cart advertising in retail stores. Learn more about how Weis Markets has seen continued success with digital supermarket advertising by reading the case study.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of online advertising for grocery? Read our previous blog posts:

Discover how you can monetize your grocery eCommerce platform by requesting a demo of the Mercatus Digital Advertising platform and our experts would be happy to deliver a personalized strategy session that answers all your questions. 

Headshot of Mark Fairhurst

Mark develops global growth strategies for Mercatus and leads the Marketing, Sales, and Customer Experience teams.