Digital Advisor magazine - Summer 2021 | Retailer Web Services

Page 1



Evolving Best Practices for the New Shopper Journey: Is your shopping cart ready for holiday season ‘21? PAGE 8


The Cookie is Crumbling: What RWS Customers Need to Know about Big Tech’s Privacy Push PAGE 5


6 Steps to a Smart Pricing Strategy PAGE 6


2019 to 2021: Online vs. In-Store PAGE 13

Toward a better normal

This is a pivotal moment for independent retailers, as the United States lifts the last of the Coronavirus restrictions and focuses on life after the pandemic. Over the last 18 months, in-person restrictions in many areas forced consumers to adopt digital and touchless methods to procure all sorts of goods and services—everything from groceries to healthcare. Once ingrained, consumer habits like these are hard to break. As in-person consumption options approach pre-pandemic levels, which of the previous habits will return and which have been altered or eliminated forever? As small business owners and leaders, we don’t have a lot of time to figure it out: Labor Day is almost here, and with it the soft launch of the 2021 holiday season. According to an April Moody’s report, Americans have saved $2.6 trillion since March 2020, and they’re ready to splurge on the things they missed last year and the people who are most important to them. To help you make the most of what should be a historic holiday season—not to mention the year ahead—we’ve devoted this issue to examining many of the essentials of digital marketing and demand creation, answering the questions:

01 What best practices remain the same? 02 What lasting effects does the pandemic have on the shopper journey?

03 How can you maximize the opportunities that await in the months ahead?

At RWS, we’re grateful that our platforms and products enabled our customers to thrive over the last 18 months while so many retailers struggled without the necessary digital presence and demand generation tools. We also know it hasn’t been easy, and many of you have had to make difficult decisions to get where you are today. That’s why we’re more committed than ever to helping you rise above your competition once again in the new and better normal that awaits. Here’s to a successful Q4 and beyond! On behalf of the RWS leadership team,


RWS Executive Leadership Team (L to R): Jodie Pierce, Jeff Dezso, Adam Gilbert, Kristen Pietragallo and Genna Majuta.



Retailer Web Services


Sierra Creative Group



Kim Cecere Jennie Gilbert Jim Kane Genna Majuta Patrick McAvoy Jodie Pierce All images sourced from Retailer Web Services or unless otherwise identified.



Toward a better normal

NEWS 3219 E. Camelback Rd. • Suite 279 Phoenix, AZ 85018 (800) 417-2799

Richer, more intuitive furniture shopping


11 opportunities to get smarter about digital marketing at PrimeTime


The Cookie is Crumbling:


What RWS Customers Need to Know about Big Tech’s Privacy Push Digital Advisor Magazine is published bi-annually by Retailer Web Services, Inc. All content, copyright © 2021, Retailer Web Services. All


rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced, all

6 Steps to a Smart Pricing Strategy


or in part, without written consent from the publisher. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all content in this publication; however, Retailer Web Services will not be held responsible for omissions or errors. The material herein is intended for educational


Evolving Best Practices for the New Shopper Journey:


Start with the Shopping Cart

and informational purposes only. Nothing herein is to be considered the rendering of advice for specific cases or circumstances. Please address all editorial inquiries to Sierra Cre-


ative Group, LLC at

AdRocket Boost Case Study:

If you are receiving multiple copies of the Digital Ad-

Hawkins Home & Lawn Cleans Up with Google Shopping


visor or wish to receive more than one copy, please contact Sierra Creative Group and Retailer Web Services


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2019 to 2021: Online vs. In-Store



What Retailers are Saying About RWS


(800) 417-2799



Notes from PrimeTime, August 2021

Richer, more intuitive furniture shopping T

Opportunities to get smarter about digital marketing at PrimeTime

his year, RWS has been significantly upgrading and enhancing its furniture data tools to deliver a richer, more

intuitive furniture shopping experience that exceeds the expectations of today’s online consumers. These upgrades are based on the results of market research, delivering improvements like:

A streamlined user experience that allows shoppers to easily browse and purchase by group sets or individual items. Intuitive ways for shoppers to see and select from applicable options like color, fabric, size, orientation, etc. More robust information on product cards in search results, delivering valuable data at a glance. Enhanced product pages with more complete data and improved functionality. Display of similar items based on items recently viewed, and items other shoppers viewed.

At PrimeTime, watch for demonstrations from the RWS team on what some of these improvements will look like to consumers! There’s more to come for furniture retailers to deliver a faster, richer experience for digital shoppers who are increasingly comfortable purchasing furniture online. With nearly $8 millon in online furniture orders placed on the RWS platform through the second quarter of this year, it will be exciting to see how these improvements drive even more online sales for furniture retailers.



ttending PrimeTime and want to learn the latest in digital marketing? Join RWS’ digital

marketing experts at any of these presentations and panels Aug.15-18: PANEL:

“How Nationwide Helps You Win at Every Step of the Shopper Journey“

SESSION: “Digital First, Brick-and-Mortar Second: Navigating the Shopper Journey through Today’s Challenges” SESSION: “How Digital Marketing Builds Your Brand” SESSION: “Turning Your Website Into Your Top Salesperson” SESSION: ”Smart Digital Advertising When Business is Good, Stock is Low and You’re Ready to Grow” SESSION: “Your Online Reputation: Win More Business with the New Word-of-Mouth” SESSION: “WebFronts Level 4: Save Time and Improve Your Results with Automation, Machine Learning and Artifial Intellignce” SESSION: “E-Commerce Best Practices to Help You Operate Effectively and Efficiently” SESSION: “FlashTags: Save Time and Money with this Easy-ToUse Electronic Tag Manager” SESSION: “RetailDeck – The App to Elevate and Support Your Sales Team” SESSION: “Digital Metrics 101: Understanding Your Results – What are the metrics that matter?”

The Cookie is Crumbling: A Primer on Big Tech’s Privacy Push


here’s an old expression in the ad industry that states,

“If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” That has been the case since the advent of free, adsupported radio and television, but the Internet has taken this model to an entirely new level. In 2019, spending on digital advertising exceeded all other forms of traditional marketing for the first time, with Google and Facebook pocketing more than half of the global spend.


The value of these digital ads, of course, is their ability to target specific individuals with incredible precision, based on their location, device, search terms, emailing,

Following the cookie crumbs What makes this tracking capability possible is the placement of a “cookie”—a small bit of tracking code—on your device. First-party cookies placed by the websites themselves can be helpful, allowing the site to remember items in your shopping cart, personalizing your return visits, and even storing your login and password information for a more streamlined experience. Third-party cookies—code placed by sources other than the website, but usually with the site’s permission—often act as tracking devices, logging your browsing habits, visit history and more away from the placement site. The cookie then reports those activities back to its owner to be used or sold to other potential users or advertisers. While internet users have been comfortable (or at least aware) they were giving up large amounts of sensitive personal information in exchange for free social media accounts, email clients, streaming media and more, the tide of consumer sentiment has shifted in recent years. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytics scandal and documentaries like The Social Dilemma have exposed just how much Big Tech companies know about us—and how they aren’t always using that information in our best interests.

Apple wears the white hat Apple CEO Tim Cook believes user privacy is “one of the top issues of the century,” according to a 2021 interview with Fast Company, and the world’s largest technology company is making big changes to do something about it—and sending shockwaves through the digital advertising world in the process. This spring, Apple launched its “app tracking transparency” (ATT) initiative as part of its iOS 14.5 update2, empowering iPhone and iPad users to choose which apps were allowed to track their identity and activity across other apps. Until now, that permission had been assumed, providing advertisers and information brokers with a treasure trove of data about iOS users, their devices, their app usage, and additional personal information which could be used directly or sold by third parties. At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple doubled down on its privacy commitment in several ways3: hiding the IP address of Safari browser users on mobile devices and computers; preventing sites from knowing where the user is located; removing email tracking pixels from Apple Mail users; and encrypting all web traffic data of iCloud+ paid users to ensure the user’s anonymity.

posting history and more. RWS’s own AdRocket™ platform relies on Google

Google makes its own privacy push

and Facebook’s precision targeting

Although Apple has stolen the privacy headlines this year, it’s rival Google has been making its own strides towards user privacy since August 20194, when it began the Privacy Sandbox initiative. At the core of this initiative was Google’s commitment to eliminate tracking cookies from its Chrome browsers by the end of 20225. This has since been pushed to “late 2023” at the earliest6 due to the digital industry’s delay in developing an alternative to the third-party tracking cookie.

capabilities to deliver significant website traffic and conversion rates for AdRocket customers.

Apple’s announcement was significant because of its leadership in the mobile device space; Google’s was notable because of its search and browser dominance. Google’s Chrome browser currently accounts for nearly two-thirds of all browsers used worldwide.

What RWS customers need to know

With the basic building blocks of digital advertising being eliminated or blocked by two of the biggest and most influential names in technology, it’s natural for savvy digital marketers to wonder, “How does this affect me and my business?” As an RWS customer, you can rest easy. Although Apple’s recent actions have made user privacy a mainstream topic, RWS leadership and development teams have been tracking Google and Apple’s intentions from the beginning and planning accordingly. Also, RWS relies on first-party cookies and information—data gathered about retailers’ visitors by RWS on your RWS platforms and products—to deliver the industry-leading features and functions retailers rely on to compete and win in their local markets. For AdRocket Base and Boost customers, the RWS platform is “tracking agnostic,” meaning it doesn’t really matter how Google plans on targeting individuals with advertising, just that the platform remains able to do so. With Google’s $150 billion in annual digital ad revenue7 on the line across its entire network, retailers can be sure it has no intention of leaving that ability to chance!

1 2 3

“US Digital Ad Spending Will Surpass Traditional in 2019” eMarketer, Feb. 2019 “What is App Tracking Transparency and how do you block app tracking?” MacWorld, Apr. 2021 “Apple advances its privacy leadership with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8” Apple Newsroom, June 2021

4 5 6 7

“Building a more private web: A path towards making third party cookies obsolete” Google, Jan. 2020 “Building a more private web: A path towards making third party cookies obsolete” Google, Jan. 2020 “Google delays Chrome’s blocking of tracking cookies to late 2023” Reuters, June 2021 “How Google’s $150 billion advertising business works” CNBC, May 2021



As the shopper journey evolves, never before has a smart pricing strategy been more important. New paths to purchase are forged at the touch of a screen, and comparison shopping is instantaneous. While it’s true the prices you advertise will be compared, you don’t always need to have the lowest price to win, but you must have the smartest one.

Independent retailers using the WebFronts® platform have nine pricing formulas which can be used in combination to achieve retailers’ desired outcomes. There are dozens of options to customize consumers’ e-commerce experience with upsells, cross-sells, delivery calculators, out-of-cart pricing, zip code restrictions, discount codes, packages and more. Combine this with increasing price volatility in the marketplace, supply chain disruption and ever-more intricate Online Pricing Policies from product manufacturer—and setting a digital pricing strategy can quickly become a complex task. When it comes to devising pricing for today’s empowered consumer, here are our top six considerations to keep top-of-mind:

Commit to price as many products as possible.

Our end-consumer research found 85 percent of online shoppers will leave a durable home goods store’s website and go to another if pricing isn’t displayed. And if you’re afraid to show a price on your website because it might be too high, you can set down that worry once and for all. Consumers report they automatically assume the price is too high when prices aren’t displayed. While showing prices online is extremely important, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can begin in increments, e.g., one brand at a time, knowing that showing some prices is better than none. You can earn returns on your efforts as you go.

Price by brand, not by category.

Think about your online pricing strategy brand by brand; there is no one formula that will work equally well for every brand you carry. Each brand has its own Online Pricing Policies that can differ significantly. Sometimes you can discount 10 percent from MAP. Sometimes you can’t deviate from MAP by even one cent. Some brands will be unique to you in your marketplace; others will be found at every single competitor. These variations should be reflected in the strategy you choose for each. If this sounds overwhelming, start by making a list of your top five brands ordered by importance to your business. Think about only one at a time and move down the list as you complete each. You will likely be able to reuse your work and set the same formula for more than one brand, but you’ll make significantly faster progress than trying to devise one formula that will work for everything at once.

Know the building blocks available to you and stack them to get most items priced.

There are many different guide prices available; knowing your options will help you build the most comprehensive pricing strategy. With values including MSRP, MAP, PMAP, UMRP, cost, competitor prices and more, you can stack multiple sources to ensure the maximum number of items are priced. And with LAP (lowest allowable price) now available for brands like GE, LG, Frigidaire and Electrolux, you can order the pricing sources in your stack starting with the most conservative option according to vendor pricing policies. At RWS, the following type of pricing is called a “Cascade Formula” because you begin with the first, then cascade down to the next until a valid price can be calculated. For example: Let’s say you want to price a certain brand’s models at LAP. That sounds simple enough. But…not every model number in that brand has LAP at every moment in time. So, stack up other conditions: If there’s no LAP, display something based off a different guide price, like PMAP, then MAP, followed by the lowest online price from your three biggest competitors. Now every model in this brand with a LAP displays a smart price. And so do the models without a LAP, PMAP, and MAP. But, what if a model number doesn’t have any of those prices and isn’t on the websites of your three biggest competitors? Stack on another: If there is no LAP, PMAP, MAP and this model has no online competitor price, then display a price of 30 percent above your cost.


Focus on date ranges for major brands.

As vendors release new pricing policies, you can see what changes to expect throughout the year and be prepared to update your pricing strategy accordingly. Even better, preset the pricing changes well in advance so you don’t need to worry about one more thing during busy holiday seasons. For example, let’s take a brand that can be priced at MAP minus 10% for the entire year except during the Black Friday pricing period when prices must be priced at or above MAP. Without good tools in place, you must remember the dates and set aside time to make pricing updates during one of the busiest times of the year. With advanced pricing tools and the dates for when this special period starts and ends, you can set your standard formula to equal MAP minus 10% for the entire brand, schedule when the prices should change to equal MAP, then schedule when prices should revert to MAP minus 10%.

Make a conscious decision about how you display rebates.

Mail-in rebates can be excellent tools to help close sales, drive up ticket sizes and differentiate your store from competitors—especially big boxes with buying group exclusive rebates! They can also be quite complex and difficult to understand. How your website displays rebates along with each product’s price will have a major impact on both your competitiveness and your profit margin. Identify products that qualify for mail-in rebates and make it easy for consumers to navigate to them by brand, category and specific rebate program. If you’re going to show a price after mail-in rebate on your site, make sure deducting that amount doesn’t violate any of your manufacturer’s Online Pricing Policies or local laws. Whenever modifying a price to show it after mail-in rebate, make sure your website passes the price before rebate through to the shopping cart. It’s often best to add a rebate amount to your online price before you then subtract it: Let’s say you would normally sell a range for $899 because that’s what your online competitors are selling it for, and you can offer a $50 mail-in rebate for this item. You could simply subtract the rebate amount from the price you’ve matched to your competitor, a common strategy: YOU PAY: $899 MAIL-IN-REBATE: -$50 PRICE AFTER REBATE: $849

Or you could make a subtle change that significantly affects your bottom line by first adding the mail-in rebate amount to the price you have matched to your competitor, and then subtracting it to show a price after rebate: YOU PAY: $949 MAIL-IN-REBATE: -$50 PRICE AFTER REBATE: $899

With the second example, your store still looks competitive (your price of $899 after rebate matches the price of $899 your competitor is advertising), but you’re not giving away the $50 rebate.Instead, that rebate goes straight to your bottom line.

Consider market value to preserve margins in the current environment.

Online pricing is a crucial part of your business. Price too high and shoppers are likely to look elsewhere. Price too low and you miss out on valuable margins. To help you ensure you are competitive while not leaving any money on the table, consider deploying certain rules around multiple sources of guide pricing. At RWS, a “Maximum Formula” pricing type uses the maximum value among the prices calculated. For example: Let’s say Home Depot is your primary local competitor. For a particular appliance brand, they generally price at the prescribed MAP, but they deviate from this formula for some models: A certain refrigerator may have a MAP of $999 but Home Depot has it priced at $1,149. To be competitive while maximizing your margins, you can employ a pricing strategy that uses the highest price between MAP and Home Depot. In this case, $1,149 would be the price of your refrigerator and you would have earned an additional $149 with a smarter pricing strategy in place. Switching the scenario, a refrigerator may have a MAP of $999 but Home Depot has it priced at $849. Using the same formula where the higher price is chosen, you ensure you’re in compliance with your vendor’s pricing policies. No matter what pricing strategy you develop, leverage the rich automation tools that WebFronts provides. When it comes to crafting a smart online pricing strategy, the options are only outnumbered by the opportunity.



Evolving Best Practices for the New Shopper Journey: Start with the Shopping Cart


his holiday season, ensure your

shopping cart is the ultimate destination along your shopper’s journey with these actionable keys to cart optimization.


Independent retailers are in the throes of the “next normal,” coined by McKinsey & Company and heralded as an opportunity to emerge stronger from the Coronavirus pandemic. In its “The recovery will be digital” report, McKinsey focuses on the vital role of digital in today’s businesses, particularly as it relates to staying in step with the shopper’s evolving journey: “First, customer behaviors and preferred interactions have changed significantly, and while they will continue to shift, the uptick in the use of digital services is here to stay…

“Companies will need to ensure that their digital channels are on par with or better than those of their competition to succeed in this new environment.” Deloitte, another Big 5 consulting firm, underscores the “digital first” mindset for retailers, even for those segments where stores are reopening. “Retail store re-openings are accelerating the use of digital to re-think in-store and online customer experience and engagement.” Deloitte cites several digital-first considerations in its “Post-COVID strategies for retailers: Reopening stores.” Among them: • Continue to improve frictionless, contactless payment options • Use AR-enabled product detail pages online to create immersive store-like experiences • Allow store associates to sell virtually through digital channels such as mobile and e-commerce orders. RWS retailers are primed to deliver on these insights thanks to several digital initiatives such as instant financing with Wells Fargo and Synchrony integration on WebFronts® Level 4, and AdRocket™ Ignite’s seamless deployment of advertising content, integrating promoted products and brand messaging into retailers’ websites. Ignite does this by learning from the neural network and leveraging advanced machine learning, creating an immersive customer experience.

Preparing for Holiday Shopping 2021 When it comes to maintaining a digital-first mindset, retailers need to begin planning for the 2021 holiday season now. eMarketer forecasts: • The total U.S. holiday retail sales in 2021 will rise 2.7% to $1.093 trillion • E-commerce sales will rise 11.3% to $206.88 billion • E-commerce will account for a record 18.9% of total holiday season retail sales. According to eMarketer’s, “How retailers can start planning for the 2021 holiday season,” the 2021 holidays will stand in stark contrast with the 2020 season:

“Certain behaviors will look like the mirror image of last year, while others will carry forward—and even strengthen—in the post-pandemic economy.


Reasons for Cart Abandonment Research conducted by the Baymard Institute points to the top five reasons that trigger shoppers to abandon carts at checkout. Extra costs such as taxes, shipping and fees were the biggest dealbreaker with 55% of survey respondents citing this reason.

This goes to show why it’s critical for retailers to not only price as many items as possible on their websites, but also to be transparent with extra costs. In addition, retailers might consider offering free or discounted shipping as numerous consumer research studies have shown people are more likely to purchase when there’s free shipping.


Extra costs too high


Account is required


Figuring out what those behaviors are and planning accordingly can put

Checkout process is too long

retailers ahead of the curve.”


Key factors to consider, according to eMarketer, include the state of the U.S. economy given lingering concerns throughout the consumer economy, as well as Thanksgiving store openings; with virtually all stores universally closed on Thanksgiving 2020, there’s now an opportunity to reestablish industry norms post-pandemic. As an RWS retailer, there are actionable steps you can take now to prepare for this holiday season.

Unclear pricing


Didn’t trust the site

One great place to start: The shopping cart.


Shopping cart abandonment is real For online retailers, combatting shopping cart abandonment isn’t new. Increasing numbers of online shoppers did, however, leave their carts behind amid the coronavirus pandemic. Total Retail reports, “From the onset of the pandemic through mid-June 2020, shoppers’ cart abandonment rate stood at 94.4 percent, compared to 85.1 percent during the same period in 2019.” A article explained the reason behind the uptick: With the consumer surge in online shopping, many shoppers were treating online shopping carts—once thought of as the final step in the shopper journey—like window shopping. Today’s average cart abandonment rate has improved slightly. It is just under 70 percent, according to recent data from the Baymard Institute, which calculated data from 41 shopping cart abandonment studies. With roughly seven out of every 10 shoppers not completing their transactions, cart optimization is essential to ensure your shopping cart is the destination in the shopper journey, not a mere stop along the way.

Set your store up for conversion success this holiday season with these 10 tips:


Safeguard consumer information. This remains priority No. 1 as your customers trust you with their private information. WebFronts® has you


Confirm credit card information via Luhn validation. This alleviates consumer frustration by immediately indicating if the card number

covered so you can automatically take these critical steps to protect

is invalid (typos happen!). It also saves you from wasting time on

customer data: WebSecure Socket Layer (SSL); Payment Card Industry

orders that don’t include valid payment information.

Data Security Standards (PCI DSS); and credit card information encryption and purging.



Use interactive delivery calculation. Your cart should allow you to create rules that automatically vary delivery fees according

Provide fast, easy and secure transactions. PayPal integration ensures

to items purchased, delivery location, type of products and total

a frictionless checkout experience. PayPal, the leading online payment

order price. Also, make sure your cart features robust and variable

system for fast, easy and secure transactions, became available in January

distance restrictions. Some manufacturers only allow online

2021 across all WebFronts levels.

transactions within a specific distance from your physical retail

Offer instant financing. The latest payment method in the world of

vary them by brand.

location. Make sure your cart can handle these restrictions and


e-commerce, instant financing is another important tool in reducing friction at checkout, as well as increasing consumer buying power. A Wells Fargo “apply and buy” integration is available now as a free extension of


Prompt for add-ons. Asking customers to add related accessories, warranties and/or complementary products to their order saves

Level 4; integration of instant financing from Synchrony Financial will be

them aggravation and maximizes ticket sizes. Ensure they can see

available in the third quarter of 2021.

related items on product pages throughout the checkout process and can easily add them to the cart.


Feature delivery options. A lasting effect of the pandemic, contactless delivery options are here to stay. And customers have come to expect delivery options. Clearly display all the ways customers can receive


information was provided outside of the shopping cart.

products that include a contactless option such as curbside pickup.


Display inventory status. Consider a seamless shopper experience before they reach the cart. Display inventory tags to communicate the status of

Provide auto-complete forms. Your cart should auto-populate all information consumers have previously entered, even if that


Allow out-of-cart pricing. Some manufacturers allow certain discounts inside the cart only. Make sure your site supports

the products they’re interested in purchasing. An Advanced Availability

showing a different price outside vs. inside the cart and adds

feature in WebFronts allows retailers to create and adjust inventory filters,

appropriate verbiage around these prices to make consumers

using automated rules, informing consumers of product availability levels

aware of, and comfortable with, this variation.

such as “in stock,” “out of stock,” “special order” or “low inventory.”

Don’t assume all software providers are able to provide the secure and seamless transactional cart experience your customers expect. Use this checklist to ensure your cart is optimized for success along the shopper’s journey, regardless of the digital paths they may take.



AdRocket Boost Case Study:

Hawkins Home & Lawn Cleans Up with Google Shopping

Background H

awkins Home & Lawn has been a fixture in the communities of Mountain Grove and West Plains, Mo. since 1967. No stranger to advertising, the

locally owned, family run business has done it all over the years, according to third-generation owner Devin Hawkins. From newspaper, radio and TV, to Facebook advertising, the independent retailer is also an early adopter of AdRocket Boost smart digital advertising.

Devin recalls, “When AdRocket came along, I pulled all my newspaper budget and put it into AdRocket because it was hands off—you give Retailer Web Services a budget and they just go to work on it, which I love.”

So, when Emily Goret, RWS digital advertising advisor on the AdRocket Boost team, invited Hawkins Home & Lawn to take part in a pilot program to add Google Shopping ads to their existing AdRocket text and display ad campaigns, Devin didn’t hesitate.

“When AdRocket came along, I pulled all my newspaper budget and put it into AdRocket because it was hands off—you give Retailer Web Services a

“With AdRocket, we were already getting a lot of traffic to our website, so when Emily contacted me about adding Google Shopping—I mean, there’s not a bigger name in digital marketing than Google—I jumped at it, gave her a budget and told her to run

budget and they just go to work on it, which I love.”

with it,” said Devin.


“We also saw over the phone sales increase a lot as well, where people would call and say they were looking at our website. They wanted to know if we had it in stock and how soon could they have it delivered?”



For Devin, advertising has always been “one of the hardest things for me to

AdRocket performance for Hawkins Home & Lawn

know what’s working and what’s not working.” In 2018 as a new AdRocket customer, he could easily access analytics reports and monitor the effectiveness of the digital ads through the AdRocket app. Working closely with his digital advisor, Devin’s initial AdRocket campaigns for Hawkins focused on

has always been well above average, according to RWS Chief Growth Officer Adam Gilbert. He cites text Click-Through Rates (CTRs) at 4% and higher; display CTRs at nearly 1%; and Cost Per Click (CPC) under $2 for text ads and under $1 for all other categories.

Whirlpool family brands, leveraging buying group cooperative promotions, and eventually added Ashley Furniture.

By using AdRocket to launch Google Shopping campaigns, Hawkins saw significant increases in

At that time, Devin’s preference was for customers to purchase in-store rather

clicks and impressions, both year-over-year and compared to the previous time period. With Hawkins’

than online. However, two years and a global pandemic later, it became clear

$2,343 ad spend during the pilot program, the

that consumers’ preferences had changed. Shopping and purchasing online

integration of Google Shopping resulted in:

had accelerated; the Google Shopping-AdRocket integration pilot program came at a critical time—as did Hawkins participation in it as part of a select group of AdRocket customers.

Solution RWS ran the pilot program during Q2 and Q3 2020, expanding the AdRocket offering to launch Google Shopping, formerly Product Listing Ads. Google

Boosted impressions by

Increased clicks by



Increased New Users, Total Users and Sessions over


Concurrently, all participating retailers in the Google Shopping pilot program saw increases, including:

Shopping brings together product images, pricing and relevant alternatives displayed at the top of the search page, above text ads and organic results. Digital advertising advisors at RWS manage all the details to get retailers’

in 71% increase impressions

78% increase in clicks

products up and running on Google Shopping, which is separate from Google

For Hawkins, Google Shopping-generated traffic to

Ads and requires a Google Merchant Center Account.

the website resulted in increased foot traffic in-store. “We also saw over the phone sales increase a lot as

“It’s just effortless because RWS does all the work for you,” said Devin. “We found that Google Shopping during the timing of the pandemic—during the whole retail climate in general geared towards online shopping—made a big

well, where people would call and say they were looking at our website,” said Devin. “They wanted to know if we had it in stock and how soon could they have it delivered?”

impact on our website traffic and on our online orders. So not only did we see more traffic on our website, but we saw increased sales on our website.”

In 2021, Devin increased his AdRocket spend to levels similar to his print ad spend over the last few

The shopping ads focused on Whirlpool brands and Ashley Furniture, just as Hawkins’ initial AdRocket campaigns did in 2018.

years. “As our business has grown, our advertising budget grows as well. So, I’m taking that extra added budget and investing in digital advertising with AdRocket.”



2019 to 2021:

Online vs. In-Store Dating back to 2019, the numbers tell an interesting story: How has the pandemic impacted where retailers across the RWS network do business? How does shopper


2021 vs 2019

2021 vs 2020

UP 51%

UP 2%




behavior continue to shift in the current environment? Since the first half of 2019, the number of retailers on the RWS platform that have engaged in e-commerce has grown by 51%. This trend, while already on the rise, increased dramatically as a result of the pandemic and

2021 vs 2019 (Q1+Q2)

UP 254%

2021 vs 2020 (Q1+Q2)

UP 7%

has remained stable since the start of the pandemic. As retailers adapted to meet shoppers online, their efforts were rewarded with the average number of online orders per retailer in the first half of 2021 up by 135% compared to 2019. And in just two years, Q1 and Q2 had an increase in


online orders of 254% across the RWS network compared to the same period in 2019. As we return to a better normal, we can already see shifts in consumer behavior. Compared to the first half of 2020, the number of online orders in 2021 is up by 7%, showing

2021 vs 2019

2021 vs 2020

UP 26%

UP 36%



a continued apptitude for online shopping, while driving directions is up by 36%, signifying an uptick for in-store transactions.

With more consumers chosing to venture back into stores, it’s expected to see a shift from online orders to in-store orders; how much of a shift remains unknown. Regardless, the RWS team is proud of the steps many retailers took to make their websites e-commerce ready for the first time over the past 15 months!


2021 vs 2019 (Q1+Q2)

UP 108%

2021 vs 2020 (Q1+Q2)

UP 5%


TOP 10 Categories Purchased Online Across the RWS Network, here are the Top 10 categories purchased online, appliances and furniture, in the first half of 2021 compared to 2020: APPLIANCES























































your store into the digital stratosphere with smart advertising Promote your store and build your brand with AdRocket™ Boost, always-on, customized digital advertising for appliance, electronics, mattress and furniture retailers. Your Dedicated Digital Advisor will advise you every step of the way. BOOST SIGNUP FEE


$ 299

$ 2,000/month • (800) 417-2799 •


What Retailers are Saying About RWS RWS is amazing and whatever

“I’d give Emily (Goret) 10 stars, but

you’re doing is working

your scale does not go that high.

because website traffic is up

You can be extremely proud to

43% compared to last year.”

have an associated like her!

Katrina Allen

Mark Braun

Lynch’s Furniture & Mattresses

Advantage Appliance



Damon (Beacham) is awesome! He is always very quick to resolve any issues I may have. …I love working with him on our website!” Morgun Henson David’ Home and Sleep Center BATESVILLE, AR

“Thanks again for all your help and

I have really enjoyed working

the amazing communication. This

with RWS!! We have moved

is way elevated from any other

in new areas quickly with

advertisers I have dealt with.

great success.”

Jerry LeCompte

Christopher Dunn

Naples Mattress

Mattress Firm South Texas




15615 N. 71st Street, Suite 205 Scottsdale, AZ 85254


Evolving Best Practices for the New Shopper Journey: Start with the Shopping Cart NEWS

The Cookie is Crumbling: What RWS Customers Need to Know about Big Tech’s Privacy Push FEATURE

6 Steps to a Smart Pricing Strategy FROM THE NETWORK

2019 to 2021: Online vs. In-Store


2019 to 2021: Online vs. In-Store FROM THE NETWORK PAGE 6

6 Steps to a Smart Pricing Strategy FEATURE PAGE 5

What RWS Customers Need to Know about Big Tech’s Privacy Push

The Cookie is Crumbling: NEWS PAGE 8

Is your shopping cart ready for holiday season ‘21?

Evolving Best Practices for the New Shopper Journey:

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