Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn is trying to make money out of the huge number of customers visiting its app and website. It has started a test in which it sells online advertisement space to brand manufacturers, in a manner similar to Google's AdWords.
AH sponsored products
Suppliers that want to advertise on Albert Heijn's online touchpoints can as of now pay to make their products more visible among customers' search results. The producer can choose which keywords should trigger its ads, and how much it wants to pay per click.
Most likely, a click will trigger an automatic bidding process behind the scenes, meaning each search will make the most expensive advertisement appear to the user. Online magazine Emerce estimates each page will show two ads. Customers will see the ads throughout their search results, but they will be able to recognise them through the label ‘sponsored product’.
Following Bol.com's example
Albert Heijn claims to be the first supermarket chain in the Netherlands to implement such a programme, but it did not have to look far for inspiration: at bol.com, another subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize, about a quarter of all sales partners pays for ads to be more visible in sales results, Emerce reports. "Online groceries are hugely popular, with three million people already shopping at Albert Heijn", AH's Digital Strategic Media Consultant Gadiza Saaidi writes on LinkedIn. Among the launching partners are big names such as Heineken, Mondelez and Unilever.
French competitor Carrefour has recently launched its own data platform called Links, which should allow partners to advertise more directly - both online and in physical stores.