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6 Ways Automation and People Are Shaping the Future of Retail Ad Strategy

Tim Dolan

The right combination of data, automation, and people is the new normal in the retail industry. As retailers plan for the expected, like earlier holiday preparation, and the unexpected, like COVID-19, having a hybrid mix of tech and people is increasingly important.

The Warming Store, an apparel retailer specializing in temperature-controlled outdoor clothing, and its marketing team use automation and people to grow business across Google, Facebook, and Amazon. This  multichannel approach has increased the retailer’s efficiency goals on Google, driven double-digit revenue growth on Facebook, and more than doubled its orders on Amazon.

The Warming Store is one of six retailers analyzed in Data, Automation, and AI: How Retailers Are Driving Practical Ad Strategies. This report covers why each retailer uses automation and AI to drive unique goals, strategy, and results.

Below is an excerpt from Data, Automation, and AI: How Retailers Are Driving Practical Ad Strategies. Learn how The Warming Store teamed up with Sidecar to implement an AI-driven strategy and get results with the right team in place.

Improve Efficiency With Automation and People

Cross-channel promotion is pivotal to The Warming Store’s success. Advertising across these four platforms helps the retailer with its main objective: improving efficiency while growing revenue. The retailer gleans insights from Google and Facebook to inform its strategy, while Amazon Advertising further meets efficiency and revenue goals.

The Warming Store’s team believed that combining automation and people could unlock new opportunities for its business. Seeing how customers shopped on Google and retargeting them on Facebook, for instance, was a unique way to get in front of the right audience at different touchpoints. Sidecar helped the retailer adopt this cross-channel mindset using AI to continuously identify shopping behavior.

Create Synergy Across Google, Facebook, and Amazon

The Warming Store knew that a mix of Google Shopping and paid search ads would expose its products to a larger audience. Sidecar helps run a unique multichannel strategy to drive product visibility.

A hybrid approach to Google Shopping and paid search is an effective way for The Warming Store to reach different audiences. Audience modifiers on Google Shopping determine high areas of engagement. Search query campaigns help the retail understand its most valuable terms on Google paid search. This mix is vital to the retailer’s efficiency and revenue goals.

Sidecar’s technology uses custom UTM parameters on Google and Facebook ads. These help engage with new shoppers on Google and Facebook and move them further down the funnel.These parameters can include audiences of shoppers that have clicked an ad. The technology then retargets them with either a Google or Facebook ad. As more data accrues, The Warming Store understands which ads work best on both channels.

“Looking at search terms that convert on Google and building audiences on Facebook help us decide which levers to pull in one channel over the other,” said Justin Silverman, co-founder of The Warming Store.

More Product Visibility and Higher ROAS During Peak Season

The Warming Store’s multichannel approach has driven new customer acquisition, increased impression share, and harnessed cross-channel insight to fill the purchase funnel. In turn, efficiency has improved while revenue grows.

Focusing on non-branded terms like “heated socks” and “heated insoles” on Google Shopping helped drive 25% higher ROAS in January year over year (4.1 to 5.1). A three pronged approach to branded, non-branded, and trademark terms on Google paid search delivered 15% more impression share YoY in November and 159% more impressions in December YoY.

CPCs across The Warming Store’s Facebook campaigns decreased 47% ($0.95 to $0.50) between November and February. While costs were slashed 2.5% over that period, revenue jumped 68%, indicative of a strong cross-channel approach between Facebook and Google.

On Amazon, YoY orders between November and January increased 455% while revenue spiked 166% over that same period. Product ad groups and granular sub-ad groups helped the retailer understand which products performed best during its peak season.

“There are two main benefits we receive from Sidecar. One is improved efficiency of our ad spend,” said Silverman. “The other is the trust we have in Sidecar’s team and technology. It’s a fantastic partnership.”