The Covid-19 pandemic not only changed the consumption pattern of consumers, but forced retailers to rethink how they conducted trade—thus speeding up digital innovation. This accelerated shift toward e-commerce by retailers is a trend that is here to stay, experts say.
Taranjeet Singh, Managing Director of SEA and India, Criteo, feels retailers are emerging as large media players in the digital space.
“There is a growth in shifting trends in e-commerce and accelerated online shopping. Reports say e-commerce outside China is predicted to grow 25% each year till 2024 and 75% of that is happening outside Amazon. Most brands are creating their own e-com channels, whether through an existing retail network or they're looking at creating e-retail capabilities on their own digital assets. The e-com sector is expected to reach $99 billion by 2020 and Indian e-com sales rose by 7-8% in 2020,” he said.
Singh said the new online shopper represents a massive opportunity for advertisers to expand their existing audiences and digital channels. Advertising dollars follow audiences and with consumers increasingly buying and consuming content online, digital advertising is going to be more mainstream, he said.
With marketers reaching Indians through mobile phones, he said they would look at full-funnel solutions rather than a piecemeal objective. Thus, an e-commerce sales approach that uses multiple channels and gives customers a unified experience across all channels — an omni-channel approach as it is called — is important.
Discussing how omni-channel has evolved, he said commerce media is the future state of ad tech and gaining consumer trust would be critical for businesses to thrive in the next decade, in the same space.
“Data is the backbone of the omni-channel economy but consumer trust is fundamental to customer relationships. For retailer companies, how they build their customer experiences, or relevance of building the right product feeds for their customers, based on the data and insights they see, is super critical. What is also important is demonstrating brand values and this will be central to connecting with consumers. Retail media advertising from a retailer's point of view needs a high level of flexibility, transparency and control,” he said.
And therein apps will become very important to the consumer journey in the retail space. Those who have physical stores would need to look at connecting these with e-com.
Explaining how Criteo is powering marketers and media owners with impact-driven advertising through its commerce media platform, he said most marketers, while looking for an omni-channel strategy, need to reach the right audience at the right time — whether they're looking at building awareness, traffic to their websites, consideration or driving sales and conversions.
“We have the ability to drive the full-funnel business KPIs for any marketer. We traditionally were specialists on the retargeting side and driving conversion, but today we have our video solutions, contextual targeting product and are expanding into omni-channel,” he said.
The company is looking at helping brands to build first-party data in terms of getting more traffic towards their digital assets, helping them drive sales. It is providing retailers and marketplaces the ability to generate new revenue from suppliers and partners by offering a full-funnel advertising solution, using an end-to-end technology platform.
He said the tech company had positioned itself well to capture the digital advertising growth, while delivering high impactful quality advertising services to its clients and agency partners.
Criteo works with more than 20,000 clients and in the last year itself, it had about 700 new clients on board. Criteo says it strives to deliver safe and transparent advertising experience for brands and publishers alike. Singh said the company is committed to stop the display of ads on content that promotes harassment, hate, violence, and intentionally propagates misinformation and disinformation.
However, increase in digital dependency comes with its own risks of ad frauds, data safety and privacy issues.
Suggesting how marketers can safeguard themselves from digital fraud, he said they need to first audit the main KPIs, and if there is a discrepancy, it should be escalated to their tech partners right away.
Asked how it ensures brand safety on its platform, he said, “We continue to build products that will enable our customers to reach and engage their audiences without third-party identifiers. This will allow marketers to effectively engage the customers in a private and consented manner. We ensure very high-quality inventory and we have third-party ad verifications. So brands can actually activate third-party tags, to see where the ad was served and in what environment.”
Criteo recently announced a new brand identity in line with its new positioning ‘The Future is Wide Open’. This stems from its focus aimed at powering marketers and media owners with impact-driven advertising through its commerce media platform.
Explaining the objective, Singh said, “We are helping brands publishers and retailers activate first-party data, privacy-safe data, so they can reach audiences and in a fair and an open internet that enables discovery, innovation, choice. I believe a balanced ecosystem is a thriving ecosystem and commerce media poised to bear fruit for a very long time to come. Being open means being collaborative and willing to evolve. The new brand solidifies that we are no longer a retargeting point solution but a global technology company driving outcomes through a world-leading commerce media platform.”
It took the company about two quarters to complete this process and the new logo was designed internally by its own brand team.
“The narrative was also an important part of the rebranding, and we worked with Technology, Humans and Taste, an external creative agency, on the discovery phase and creative consultation. We used both PR and marketing approaches to launch the new branding, including banner ads in leading trade media and will continue these efforts until next year,” he added.