The growth in e-commerce, especially in the last few months, has led to the fast growth of self-service advertising platforms."

As the consumer goods and retail industry navigates pandemic-related supply chain issues and the rapid change in customer behavior brought on by physical distancing, brand marketers are seeking the best answer to one crucial question: How do I engage shoppers and spend our advertising and promotion budget most effectively?

For many, the answer may be e-tail advertising. The benefits for brands are threefold: reaching consumers where they’re shopping, showcasing products shoppers can buy now and attracting new customers.

The growth in e-commerce, especially in the last few months, has led to the fast rise in self-service advertising platforms, giving marketers access to ad inventory across more than 300 retailers and last-mile service providers in the U.S., including Walmart, Home Depot, Kroger, Costco, Target, Albertsons, Meijer, Instacart, Shipt, Ahold Delhaize, Walgreens, CVS, Petco, Office Depot OfficeMax, Peapod and many more.

What does this mean for brands? They now have the ability to get in front of consumers at virtually any retailer, even though consumers are not leaving the comfort of their homes. This is a huge opportunity that brands should prioritize.

Are You Inventory-Ready?

If your brand’s supply chain is keeping up with product demand sold through e-tailers or brick-and-mortar retailers supported by last-mile providers, now’s the time to get your products in front of online shoppers. If your brand is still challenged by out-of-stocks, prioritize fixing that foundation before turning on e-tail advertising levers.

In the first quarter of 2020, 65% of paid search campaigns on Amazon were put on hold due to inventory and out-of-stock issues, according to a report by Pacvue. Why spend money advertising a product a consumer can’t buy? This leads to consumer frustration and wasted dollars for the brand. On the flip side, brands that had inventory on Amazon during this time saw a reduction in cost-per-clicks on Amazon’s search advertising platform due to reduced competition for the 2.54 billion visitors coming to Amazon during the month of March alone.

Outside Amazon

What about advertising on other platforms like, or Today, Beekeeper Marketing is seeing extremely low competition on the new self-service advertising platforms and we know that consumers are still looking for in-stock items to buy without leaving their home. Whether it’s a regional grocery banner, a national grocery chain or a last-mile delivery alternative, on-platform retailer marketing solutions are available to activate now and the opportunity to earn market share while the competition hesitates is immense.

Better to Lead the Pack

There are two big advantages for brands who are among the first movers to e-tail sites:

  • Less competition means you can most likely secure premium ad placements at a relatively low cost.
  • You can reach both brand loyalists searching for your product and consumers new to online grocery shopping who are looking for products in your category.

Those new online grocery shoppers make up one large opportunity: Nearly half (46%) of shoppers who purchased an item for the first time on March 15, during the peak of new buyer conversion, had already made a repeat purchase when they were surveyed at the end of the month, according to “The Super Surge of New Brand Trial,” a new report by IN Connected Marketing, an Advantage Marketing Partner agency.

Marketers know the cost of retaining a consumer is much lower than luring a new one, so this represents an opening for brands showcasing their products to consumers who are ready to make a purchase in their category. Our internal findings indicate for some brands advertising on self-service e-tail platforms can be more efficient than some traditional shopper marketing methods.

Getting Started

Keep in mind, advertising on a retail platform is subject to swift changes in consumer behavior and new offerings in the marketplace. Brand marketers must be extremely nimble and poised to change tactics quickly to go where consumers are shopping, while protecting their brand reputation by showcasing products that are available to buy.

COVID-19 has rapidly changed consumer behavior in a significant way and I fully expect the e-commerce shift to continue even after the pandemic eases up. As Credit Suisse analyst Seth Sigman says, “We see this unfortunate period accelerating structural changes in consumer shopping,” with as much as five years of change happening in weeks.

As the saying goes, “The future is now” and marketers who tap into the dramatic changes in shopper behavior will likely benefit most.

Advantage Solutions

Sumi Mukoyama
Senior Director of Advertising Alliances
Beekeeper Marketing

Sumi Mukoyama has been part of the team at Beekeeper Marketing, an Advantage Digital Technology agency, since 2016. She previously worked for the Amazon Media Group.

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