Understanding omnichannel behaviour helps Makro make smart optimisations

Linah Maigurira / September 2019

Importing store purchase data into Google Cloud uncovers insights about digital ads’ effect on sales.

With a strong presence in South Africa, Makro aims to combine convenience with affordability to help local households and businesses. As the second largest retailer in the pan-African space, Makro has expanded from being a basic warehouse chain to an online shopping hub. The brand is owned by the Walmart subsidiary Massmart Group.

The Makro team understands that consumers are increasingly using digital – particularly mobile – as the main way they purchase many products. Believing that omnichannel shoppers research and purchase both online and offline, Makro set out to find what portion of purchases in stores were the result of previous online engagement. Makro’s goal was to determine the offline return on their digital ad spend.

As a first step, Makro tested Store Sales Measurement to see how Google Ads translated into offline purchases. Makro uploaded monthly offline transactions associated with Makro’s loyalty program into the brand’s Google Ads account.

According to calculations based only on online purchases, the analysis revealed that the contribution of Google Ads was 15 times higher when offline purchases were included. The analysis also showed that 55% of all offline transactions had begun on a mobile device.

The results from Store Sales Measurement gave the team confidence to expand their omnichannel measurement strategy further. Makro partnered with BCX, a South African-based information and communications technology company, to integrate Makro’s own first-party data warehouse into Google Cloud. This made it possible to import actual offline purchase data from Makro’s 22 outlets into Google Cloud every 15 minutes.

Being able to see online and offline data in real time is definitely giving us the information we need in order to spend our media budget more efficiently.

Meanwhile, Google Analytics e-commerce data is now exported to Google Cloud in near real time. The two data sets are combined in Google’s BigQuery using Makro’s loyalty number. This integration allows the team to import in-store sales data from Makro’s 22 outlets into Google Analytics 360 and Google Ads to inform their media optimisation efforts.

“After connecting our physical and digital customer behaviour through Google Analytics 360 and BigQuery, it was fascinating to delve into the consumer journey in real time. Furthermore, it helped us uncover insights we had not expected, while optimising spend for our omnichannel customers,” explains Lazo Karapanagiotidis, Head of Digital Innovation at Makro.

The changes helped Makro produce some impressive results. For instance, omnichannel optimisations on their Google Ads campaigns increased the conversion rate by 6%, and impression share on target categories grew two-fold.

“Being able to see online and offline data in real time is definitely giving us the information we need in order to spend our media budget more efficiently,” says head of digital marketing Kerry Ho van Rensburg. Kerry reveals that the brand’s return on ad spend continues to increase on a monthly basis, and she expects this to improve even more thanks to the team’s recent integration of first party data-driven attribution.

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