Meeting Consumers in the Virtual Aisles with eCommerce

Carly Ciarletta| View Author Bio

Online shopping is not new, nor is the technology, but over the past few years, consumers have grown even more accustomed to home delivery. ​In simple terms, eCommerce is the purchasing of goods and services on the internet.  

Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) has invested in eCommerce partnerships, providing dairy the opportunity to be ‘always on’ by seamlessly activating to own category placements and virtual aisles. Building on DMI’s investment, New England Dairy launched its first regional eCommerce campaign on Instacart, the world’s largest online grocery service, to activate trust and sales focused on dairy. Instacart allows consumers to select items from their favorite grocery stores and have a personal shopper select and deliver their order the same day. Instacart partners with more than 700 national, regional and local retailers and delivers from over 65,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities. Its delivery service reaches more than 85% of U.S. households.  

100% of our investment supported dairy promotion. The campaign objective was to drive awareness, traffic, and sales by targeting consumers based on past purchase behavior and keywords.  

NED was able to work with an eCommerce team to identify the sponsored products. Sponsored products are generated from the UPC’s based on our campaign criteria and consisted of private labels and regional brands that were sold at major retailers in New England. We created three sponsored display ads: milk, milk and cookies, and milk and cereal. 


The campaign launched during the holiday season, running from late November through December 2022. Our sponsored ads were delivered to consumers while shopping on Instacart based on their past behavior or keyword search. If the shopper clicked on the sponsored ad, they would be redirected to a shopping page for fluid milk that showed the sponsored products associated with our campaign.  

The results of the campaign were positive. There was a total of 580,000 impressions, 519,000 ad clicks, and resulted in $350,000 in dairy sales. The sales indicated that there were approximately 15,421 gallons of milk that were moved as a direct result from the campaign.  

We also measured the return on advertising spending (ROAS). There was a $7.96 return for every dollar spent against sponsored product and a $15.27 return for every dollar spent against sponsored display.  

Dairy is bright spot for eCommerce, which is seen as a smart growth strategy for the dairy industry as online sales are typically higher than in-store sales. ​It is a place to promote the category as a whole. We have evaluated our first eCommerce campaign as a success and will continue to invest dairy farmer dollars in this sales channel.  

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