Wakefern Incorporates Technology from CitrusAd

Cyndi Loza
Managing Editor, Member Content, P2PI | profile
Cyndi Loza profile picture
a screenshot of a video game

Wakefern Food Corp. is offering brands the ability to conduct sponsored product campaigns and display advertising across its desktop and mobile e-commerce websites through retail media technology from CitrusAd.

Using a real-time relevance engine developed by CitrusAd, Wakefern and its brand partners can place products and banner ads “in a nonintrusive, organic way” on the retailer’s ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer chain e-commerce sites, according to a media release from Brisbane, Australia-based CitrusAd.

“We have display banners that are targeted to align with shoppers browsing and searching for relevant categories and keywords on desktop and mobile [sites],” says Brian DeCoveny, vice president, retail media partnerships at CitrusAd, noting that the capability would extend to the [ShopRite] mobile app in February.In addition, within desktop and mobile [e-commerce sites], we offer sponsored products and brand pages.”

Store owners in Wakefern’s cooperative and brand partners will gain full transparency and ROI measurement of shopper activity by accessing the real-time reporting dashboard in the platform, according to CitrusAd. The ads will appear based on business parameters that have been aligned by Wakefern and CitrusAd, but the retailer maintains the ability to adjust based on evolving priorities, according to DeCoveny. If inventory is selling out, for example, DeCoveny says CitrusAd would work closely with the retailer to identify further areas of opportunities and make sure that any additional placements enhance the online shopping experience by helping shoppers find relevant products.

Launched in 2017, CitrusAd is a white label, self-serve e-commerce advertising platform that lets retailers monetize their digital shelf space while enabling suppliers to increase sales by launching targeted campaigns. In addition to Wakefern, CitrusAd works with U.S. supermarkets such as Hy-Vee and Kroger’s Harris Teeter.

Wakefern first began working with CitrusAd in May 2020. DeCoveny says the company and retailer have since formed a closer “working partnership in an effort to grow the program based on heightened e-commerce demand.” (Mi9 previously managed sponsored product campaigns and display media for Wakefern.) The retailer also partners with Inmar for programmatic off-site advertising.

“We are working with leading technology partners like CitrusAd, whose solutions add value across our platforms,” Elizabeth Goodbread, director of digital commerce for Wakefern, said in the release. “The CitrusAd platform is scalable, easy to integrate and will enable CPG brands to boost their sales online in a relevant and meaningful manner that also makes the shopping experience more convenient for our shoppers.”

Online grocery sales jumped dramatically in 2020, when more shoppers turned to online shopping due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Wakefern joins a list of retailers that are doubling down on their digital ad technologies to keep up with the rapid growth of online shopping. (Walgreens and CVS launched retail media platforms in December and August, respectively, and Walmart is rebranding its media arm to Walmart Connect and expanding its scope.)

“We are delighted to partner with a leading grocery retailer such as Wakefern and play our part in [its] exciting retail media strategy,” CitrusAd chief executive officer, Brad Moran, said in the release. “Our aim is to support and empower retailers like Wakefern to succeed on their respective retail media journeys.

Online Shopping

Strengthening e-commerce capabilities and fulfillment services has become a priority for various retailers during the pandemic. However, online shopping won’t be going away after the pandemic, said Cheryl Williams, Wakefern’s chief information officer, during a Jan. 12 session at the National Retail Federation’s “Retail’s Big Show - Chapter One” virtual expo.

“I do believe that those [shoppers] who have shifted online will continue to stay online, and I do believe more and more people will be going online,” said Williams, adding that she herself did all of her 2020 Christmas shopping online. 

Williams’ comments are in line with what the Institute’s Shopper Behavior Monitor survey (conducted in cooperation with Edge Marketing) found in September 2020. The majority of consumers surveyed said they plan to shop online at least as often or even more often than they currently are after the pandemic is resolved.