- Bazaarvoice, the maker of software for product reviews and user-generated content (UGC), bought technology company Curalate to expand its social commerce services, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. Curalate makes software for social media, influencer marketing and UGC to help marketers with online sales.
- Curalate's software turns images into digital storefronts with the goal of creating compelling online shopping experiences. The company's 1,100 clients include Best Buy and Lululemon Athletica. Curalate's digital storefronts last year generated 2 billion visits and drove almost $1 billion in incremental e-commerce revenue.
- Curalate's integration with Bazaarvoice will let brands use social content to drive sales on social channels, websites and its network. Curalate co-founders Apu Gupta and Nick Shiftan will stay with the combined company to lead visual commerce. Bazaarvoice works with more than 6,200 global brand and retail websites, per the announcement. Terms of the Curalate acquisition weren't disclosed.
Bazaarvoice's acquisition of Curalate adds to the software maker's social commerce services as a growing number of consumers shop on social media apps, especially while stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic. To reach those customers, brands have slashed their plans for investment in offline sales channels including brick-and-mortar stores and shifted to online channels. About two-thirds (64%) of companies plan to spend more on their websites, 58% on apps and 52% on social media, per a Forrester Research report cited by The Drum. That spending can drive revenue for Bazaarvoice's expanded visual commerce services.
It's unclear how much the pandemic has affected social commerce in the U.S., though the broader e-commerce segment grew by $52 billion more than expected in the weeks since the start of the health crisis, according to Adobe Analytics. E-commerce sales will grow 18% this year despite an almost 11% drop in total U.S. retail sales because of the pandemic, researcher eMarketer predicted. Amid the predicted growth in e-commerce, social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube in recent weeks have added support for e-commerce to capture more online spending.
Bazaarvoice's purchase of Curalate follows last year's acquisition of Influenster, a product review platform, to strengthen its UGC and word-of-mouth platform for retailers and brands. That deal signified some consolidation in software for reviews and UGC, though it's too early to tell whether there's a broader M&A trend for services provided by Curalate and its competitors. Many of the biggest tech deals this year have focused on other verticals such as cybersecurity, Computerworld reported in a roundup of M&A announcements.