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Kroger puts its data science prowess to work for brands

“Boosted Products in Search” platform raises digital visibility of CPGs

Next week, The Kroger Co. plans to launch a new consumer packaged goods search service that harnesses its acumen in data and personalization.

The self-service marketing platform, called Boosted Products in Search, will enable CPG brands to reach digitally savvy shoppers with “hyper-relevant” products in search results across Kroger digital properties, as well as view performance in real time, Kroger said Wednesday.

Through Boosted Products in Search, available June 4, brands will be able to promote their online assortment with Product Listing Ads (PLAs) via the Kroger Precision Marketing Powered by 84.51° platform by balancing cost-per-click bid pricing, customer relevancy and in-flight performance optimization, the supermarket retailer said. Native product integration will take SKUs coming up in search results, or within relevant categories, and spotlight them in high-visibility slots for customers.

Kroger subsidiary 84.51° unveiled the Kroger Precision Marketing cross-channel media solution last October as a way to develop more relevant customer campaigns across Kroger’s digital ecosystem. The data science unit — whose name reflects the longitude of Kroger’s Cincinnati headquarters — was formed in 2015 after Kroger acquired the balance of “customer science” firm dunnhumby, its joint venture with U.K. food retailer Tesco.

"As part of Restock Kroger, we are committed to partnering for customer value and redefining the grocery customer experience,” Kroger Chief Digital Officer Yael Cosset said in a statement. “Kroger Precision Marketing is an alternative revenue stream for Kroger and provides brands the platform to offer a more personalized online experience to Kroger customers through digital innovation.”

The company noted that, through Restock Kroger, it has ramped up its technology spending this year in a number of areas, including digital shopping, merchandising, in-store technologies, health and wellness, and payments.

Boosted Products in Search stands to grow sales and basket size, enable product discovery for customers and tap into previously unavailable marketing channels by changing the way that brands interact with customers online, Kroger said. 

The new capability, driven by 84.51° personalization science, is expected to enhance the customer experience via household-level personalization integration and a machine learning-driven quality score that occurs in real time, accounting for store-level inventory, promotions, shifting consumer preferences and seasonality. That will drive the search results algorithm and influence the priority ranking of boosted products for customers, according to the company.

"Our private marketplace model will provide more transparency, more control and better performance for our consumer packaged goods partners,” said Cara Pratt, vice president of customer communications for 84.51°. “Kroger customers will see more relevant ads and offers being served to them, and CPG companies will benefit from a more connected and streamlined approach to reaching their consumers.”

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