Smart & Final Builds On Ecommerce Capabilities To Run Native Ads, Improve Search

Smart & Final has been building a personalized ecommerce platform on its website allowing consumers to order online and either pick up at the store or have the items delivered.

The grocer initially formed a partnership with Mercatus to build out its platform. Now Mercatus has partnered with CitrusAd to launch Mercatus Digital Advertising to help grocers like Smart & Final earn a larger share of online revenue through a managed native advertising program.    

COVID-19 may have pushed more consumers to order groceries online, but Smart & Final EVP and Chief Digital Officer Ed Wong expects ecommerce to rise based on new services such as online ordering and curbside pickup or delivery through their service and through services like Instacart, which they began using in 2015.  

“As a lot more customers became comfortable shopping online during the pandemic, we wanted to make sure we give them a better experience,” Wong said. “It drove a lot of the strategy of putting out our own banner site.”



Smart & Final, in addition to being listed on the Instacart marketplace, runs its own eCommerce platform on its website, which is powered by Mercatus.

Targeted product search, category results and native display ads integrate with the consumers’ online shopping experience, encouraging shoppers to add items that brands advertise into their digital carts. 

Smart & Final customers range from businesses to consumers. Wong said the company has more SKUs in large sizes for businesses than Costco.

The agreement between Mercatus and CitrusAd will enable consumer product goods (CPG) companies to serve up product incentives as they come to the website, either for business or consumer use. It will also personalize the content for return visitors based on prior website visits and purchases.

Weis Markets and Piggly Wiggly Midwest also become the first Mercatus clients to adopt the solution. Others will join the network in the coming months.

Online advertising is complicated for grocery stores because they have so many interconnected systems requiring significant investments in campaign management and maintenance.

Mercatus will manage the digital campaigns on behalf of its retailers and provide visibility into campaign performance.

Mercatus Digital advertising touts that the new offering will enable the upsell or one-third of existing customers, 3.5 times CPM over traditional media, and 89 times higher click-through rate.

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