The supermarket has signed an agreement with retail technology agency CitrusAd that will now allow it to run targeted advertising across the Waitrose.com website for the first time.
Previously, suppliers would have to sign long-term fixed tenancy contracts to secure static advertising slots, which were displayed to all customers.
The change to a targeted model would give suppliers greater “flexibility” as to when and where adverts appear on the Waitrose website, it said. For example, suppliers will now be able to pay to boost their search capabilities on Waitrose.com to take advantage of a seasonal event. They’ll also be able to pay for sponsored offers and checkout campaigns tailored to an individual customer’s shopping habits.
Following the agreement, suppliers would also get enhanced performance-based metrics and reporting, enabling them to better measure the impact of their adverts, Waitrose said.
“Advertising on retailers’ websites is nothing new, but it traditionally took a blanket approach, meaning customers saw promotions that just weren’t of interest,” said Waitrose retail media sales lead Phil Eacott.
“Now, we’re able to target ads much more effectively so customers get much more relevant offers, and brands get even better engagement.”
Waitrose began trialling the new the model with select suppliers in June.
“Relevancy is key when it comes to customer experience,” said CitrusAd EMEA CEO Alban Villani. “Since working with Waitrose to offer targeted adverts to customers, ads on their website have begun well outperforming industry benchmarks.
“What’s more, the brands they work with get real-time data on their campaigns and can easily update their campaigns to help stay relevant.”
Over the past couple of years, the John Lewis Partnership has been working to improve the high-end grocer’s wider IT infrastructure as part of its strategy to address falling sales and market share.
Boosting its loyalty and personalisation capabilities – which are generally seen to lag behind those of the majority of its rivals – has been identified as a critical need, ahead of the relaunch of a cross-partnership loyalty scheme in early 2024.
In April, JLP signed two new five-year agreements with Eagle Eye and Dunnhumby, aimed at improving its ability to handle and utilise customer data. That was followed by an update to the MyWaitrose scheme in October, aimed at improving the range and relevance of vouchers offered to customers.
Following the latest partnership, Waitrose said it would continue to “collaborate” with CitrusAd in order to improve the shopping experience across its site, including making ads “even more personalised”.