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Simon’s Affordable Luxury Outlet Is Becoming Its Own Retail Ad Network

Shop Premium Outlets, mall operator Simon Property Group’s luxury-oriented sale and outlet business, is jumping on the retail media network bandwagon: Thanks to a partnership with Mirakl, a retail tech firm specializing in marketplace platforms, the mall operator’s Shop Premium Outlets site is launching targeted ads powered by artificial intelligence, the companies revealed Tuesday.

The arrangement turns the discount premium marketplace into its own advertising network. The appeal for sellers seems obvious, since they can promote goods to consumers directly in the same place they’re already shopping. That’s not a small niche. Shop Premium Outlets serves millions of customers across Adidas, Coach, Hugo Boss, Mulberry and many others in Simon Group’s affordable luxury lineup of approximately 350 curated brands.

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According to Neel Grover, chief executive officer of Shop Premium Outlets, “We are told we are the equivalent of a top five physical store for many of our brands, with our top brands driving tens of millions of sales a year.

“We grew our GMV [gross merchandise value] approximately 100 percent year-over-year,” he continued, “and drive a lot of qualified shoppers from the Simon sites and physical locations.”

Mirakl’s retail media arm, Mirakl Ads, is the foundation of the new ad network. In practical terms, it serves up sponsored product listings that are targeted using information such as transactional data, keywords and navigational behavior. Mirakl’s proprietary AI optimizes these ads for relevance and performance.

These “retail media sponsored ads enable our brands to get the most relevant and time-sensitive product and promotion in front of our shoppers at the exact time they have shopping intent,” Grover said. The move also aligns with another AI feature launched by the marketplace, AI search. The update enables search by image and color, and offers a chatbot search assistant.

These capabilities come together for brands “to ensure their product and promotion is in front of the right customer [to] create an even more relevant and enjoyable shopping experience,” he said.

A view of how a sponsored ad (on the right) shows up on Shop Premium Outlets’ website.
A view of how a sponsored ad (on the right) shows up on Shop Premium Outlets’ website.

The notable distinction with Mirak Ads is the emphasis on direct or first-party data, as opposed to typical third-party data scenarios. The latter has become fraught in the face of a recent Federal Communications Commission ruling requiring brands to obtain “one-to-one” written consent for lead generation. In other words, companies that collect data are prohibited from reselling it for marketing without explicit permission from each individual.

Naturally, as brands weigh alternatives, retail media networks have seen greater momentum. Mirakl Ads channels that and aims it at retailers, particularly marketplaces.

“Now retailers, to monetize their inventory, need to liberate some of that data, and retail media is the perfect solution to leverage first-party data,” Octavie Gosselin, vice president of Mirakl Ads, told WWD. “And so with Mirakl Ads, we provide a way for all retailers, but also for marketplaces, to monetize their inventory, leveraging first-party transactional data. They can create a profitable new source of revenue and propose the best experience…because they can push the most relevant and personalized ads as possible on their website.”

AI shapes various aspects of Mirakl’s business, from the way sponsored product ads are targeted to the creation of product text, automated campaigns and more. Given that, the platform promises marketplace sellers greater visibility, without the kludge of complicated onboarding. For Shop Premium Outlets, marketplace sellers can get started in mere minutes and even shift money from sales on the Mirakl Marketplace Platform directly into ad buys.

The announcement adds to a laundry list of notable milestones for Mirakl, following key moves like its advertising partnership with Havas Group in September and marketplace integration with Shopify in January. All of that has caps impressive growth and a striking client roster. Across the company, Mirakl works with Anthropologie, Asos, Bloomingdale’s, Express, H&M, Macy’s, Madewell, Saks Fifth Avenue and Urban Outfitters, among others.

For its retail media division alone, “overall, on all the marketplaces that Mirakl Ads is deploying, there are 2 billion monthly visits,” Gosselin said. Now that Shop Premium Outlets has joined the roster, her team is focusing on its next milestone: a tech update to launch videos later this month.

“We are covering a market that was not covered until yet,” she added. “So it’s quite a unique solution that we have developed for our retailers to be able to monetize the marketplace.”

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