COLOGNE – There’s a school of thought that says most online retailers cannot compete with the likes of Amazon and Alibaba. The folks at Criteo don’t think so, which is why they have architected “a kind of alternative universe” in which ecommerce companies not only survive but thrive.

Despite “doom and gloom” sentiments about competing with online giants, “At Criteo we just don’t believe that,” says Chief Revenue Officer Mollie Spilman.

Criteo thinks there’s a “vibrant future” alongside the Amazons and Alibabas of the world, Spilman explains in this interview with Beet. TV at the 2017 DMEXCO advertising and media trade show. “And so we’re building what we hope to be the world’s highest performing and open—open being a really key term—commerce marketing ecosystem,” Spilman says.

Within such an environment, brands, publishers, retailers and other players are able to better connect with consumers by inspiring them with the most relevant offers and products.

It’s many steps beyond Criteo’s longtime core capabilities of retargeting consumers online. Criteo’s acquisition of HookLogic is a key component of the buildout.

“The scope is really expanding to not just reengage or retarget shoppers but to acquire them in the first place,” says Spilman. “To convert new shoppers into buyers” and turn one-time buyers into lifetime shoppers. “We’re trying to go up the funnel and be able to go to our clients and bring them new customers. Try to get current customers to buy more.”

Insights gleaned from machine learning technology helps Criteo understand identities not just online but offline as well.

“What’s happening right now is each e-tail or commerce company has a very siloed view of their shopper. They know what happens on their site or in their store. Sometimes they don’t always know how those two interact.”

In the same vein, the company provides intelligence on the differences between what happens on a desktop versus a tablet or a smartphone. The pooled data in its ecosystem is shared with all participants “so they have a much fuller view of the path to purchase.”

Criteo’s rise has made it a major force in the digital ad world, representing some 16,000 advertisers. “What publishers are looking for is, of course monetization of their inventory. But they just don’t want that at any cost. They want that with high quality advertising. They do want higher CPM’s.”

Criteo controls the creative assets of its advertisers “across the board,” buying billions of placements and paying very high CPM’s. Moreover, it recently launched its own header bidding product to enable even more efficient bidding on ad inventory.

“We’re actually paying publishers double-digital percentage more in terms of monetization of their inventory than we had through RTB platforms” and other programmatic channels, Spilman says.

“Welcome to the Vibrant Future,” a video series of thought leadership from DMEXCO 2017 presented by Criteo. For more videos please visit this page.