Bazaarvoice's Acquisition Of Curalate A 'Right Time, Right Place' Deal

Bazaarvoice announced the acquisition of Curalate on Wednesday, combining product reviews and user-generated content solutions with visual commerce.

Keith Nealon, CEO at Bazaarvoice, believes that as shoppers turn to ecommerce, especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, giving them access to user-generated content (UCG) has become more important. 

“This acquisition is another opportunity for us to continue to innovate for our clients and move as the industry moves,” Nealon said.

The acquisition gives Bazaarvoice a more comprehensive visual content offering to better serve brands’ needs, from driving social engagement to improving search imagery and lifting site conversions.

Curalate co-founders Apu Gupta and Nick Shiftan plan to join the Bazaarvoice team and lead the company’s vision for visual commerce.

Curalate provides shoppable social, UGC, and influencer marketing tools to more than 1,000 brands and retailers, including Best Buy and Lululemon. Curalate’s technologies turn images into digital storefronts that give consumers online shopping experiences.

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The capabilities diversify Bazaarvoice’s annual revenue stream, which is a top priority for companies this year. Look at Lululemon’s acquisition of Mirror, an exercise machine manufacturer, for $500 million.

The machine may cost around $1,500, but the $39-per-month membership fee brings service revenue, similar to companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google.

As e-commerce and omnichannel shopping have increased during COVID-19, Nealon said, "we have observed and expect deal flow to continue to accelerate as marketing technologies aim to reach more shoppers, and brands and retailers seek the most effective way to reach those shoppers. This deal certainly benefited from 'right time, right place' effects and both sides worked hard to bring this deal together despite the pandemic and logistical challenges.”

Social still strongly influences the young. Data shows the Gen Z generation are 34% more likely than other age groups to discover new brands and products through social influencers. Some 42% of global shoppers say they have made a purchase on social media, according to Bazaarvoice’s Shopper Experience Index.

Bazaarvoice’s Shopper Experience Index also revealed a 17% year-on-year increase in reviews that include photos across its network and a 67% increase in photo submissions among its Influenster community of influential shoppers who are invited to review products.

Furthering this significant upward trend, a survey found that shoppers want even more visual content in reviews — when asked what type of UGC they wish they had more access to, it was their top request.

When asked whether the industry can expect additional acquisitions in the near future, Nealson said, “we do not have any additional updates at this time, [but] acquisitions are a part of our overall growth strategy and we continue to evaluate opportunities that can strengthen our business and provide increased value to our clients."

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