The social network on Monday rolled out a number of tools aimed at helping retailers drive sales in their stores and online.

In looking to keep pace with the changing ways that consumers shop, Facebook Inc. on Monday at Shoptalk rolled out three enhancements to its advertising offerings with an eye toward helping retailers drive sales both in stores and online.

“Retail is alive and well,” says Eva Press, Facebook’s group director, global marketing solutions. “Retail is growing with e-commerce driving a lot of that growth. However, the reality is that stores aren’t going away but they are changing.”

Facebook seeks to help retailers adjust by rolling out advertising tools that can help retailers understand how their mobile ads influence in-store sale, that leverage merchants’ online catalogs and that enable retailers to reach shoppers with ads earlier in the shopping process.

 

Building on the social network’s custom audiences for offline conversions—which helps marketers re-engage their in-store customers through ads on Facebook—the social network on Monday introduced a tool it calls store sales optimization. The measurement uses machine learning that marries location data with retailer’s point-of-sale data to help retailers show ads to consumers whose actions suggest they are likely to make an in-store purchase, even if they are not an existing customer.

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For example, a retailer can use the tool to identify shoppers who often browse online but buy in its stores. Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., No. 328 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, used the tool to determine which consumers it should show an Instagram video ad aimed at driving consumers into its stores, and drove an 11% incremental lift in in-store sales.

The social network also enhanced its collection ad unit, which allows retailers to transform their print catalogs into mobile ads. Facebook on Monday enabled retailers to personalize the ad format by showcasing the elements within a catalog a shopper’s actions suggest he would most likely be interested in.

Sephora USA Inc., No. 136, recently ran a campaign using the tool, called tabs for Canvas, to highlight the beauty products shoppers’ actions suggest they have looked at on its site or app. The campaign produced a 32% higher return on ad spend compared with its collection ads that didn’t use tabs for Canvas.

The tool dynamically adjusts. That means if a shopper clicks on an ad showcasing lipstick, but then browses for face cream, it will use that information in future ads.

Finally, Facebook on Monday rolled out categories for dynamic ads to help merchants reach shoppers earlier in the shopping process. For example, if a shopper visits a retailer’s website to browse furniture, clicks to couches, but doesn’t click to view a specific product, the merchant can use categories for dynamic ads to display images corresponding to that category of product to try to inspire the person to take the next step in his shopping journey.

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TechStyle Fashion Group used categories for dynamic ads to expand the reach of its campaigns and improve customer acquisition for brands such as Fabletics.

“Categories for dynamic ads has allowed us to both further tailor our retargeting campaigns as well as expand our prospecting strategy ultimately resulting in more efficient new customer acquisition,” says Aubrie Richey, senior director, paid social media, TechStyle Fashion Group, No. 75, noting that doing so led its cost per acquisition to decrease 24-58% across its brand portfolio.

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