- WPP on Nov. 30 announced it had acquired Cloud Commerce Group (CCG), a UK-based tech company that specializes in multichannel e-commerce software. CCG helps brands market, sell and deliver products on platforms including Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Wayfair, and will merge with WPP's Wunderman Thompson Commerce offering.
- In a separate announcement, Wunderman Thompson Commerce on Dec. 1 partnered with clean tech company Vaayu to create a sustainable commerce practice that seeks to help clients reduce the carbon footprint of their digital commerce offerings through consultancy, design, operations and technology services.
- The acquisition and new partnership look to meet evolving consumer and client needs around e-commerce and issues related to sustainability, and come as agency holding groups attempt to shore up their capabilities, build on growth and come out of the pandemic stronger.
WPP's latest moves demonstrate how agency holding companies are beefing up e-commerce capabilities and addressing related issues to meet brand needs as the pandemic continues to accelerate consumers' e-commerce adoption. The acquisition of CCG will provide WPP with a software platform that manages the entire commerce journey for hundreds of European retailers and wholesalers.
"With over £1 billion revenue transacting through its platform, Cloud Commerce Group already has demonstrable scale and success in managing the complex omnichannel commerce needs of global brands," WPP CEO Mark Read said in the press release.
The acquisition is in line with WPP's previous M&A deals and those of its competitors. The company in August acquired enterprise solutions provider Satalia, while Omnicom Media Group in October acquired performance marketing firm Jump 450 due in part to its focus on e-commerce. Agency holding companies have turned to M&A during the pandemic to further improve their positions as the digital ad market continues to rebound.
Along with an improvement to Wunderman Thompson Commerce's capabilities, the consultancy's partnership with clean tech company Vaayu — an exclusive relationship from now until Q4 2022 — will see the company bolster its sustainability bona fides with a new practice area supported by Vaayu's carbon footprint calculation platform. WPP in April committed to reach net zero carbon emissions in its operations by 2025 and across its entire supply chain by 2030. Other agencies are also pursuing strategies for reducing their own carbon emissions, something that can be a challenge for service-oriented organizations.
As consumer adoption of e-commerce has accelerated, so has consumer desire for sustainability: 60% of people actively choose companies that are more environmentally friendly and 28% are willing to switch a brand or retailer based on the sustainability of products, according to Wunderman Thompson Commerce's Sustainability, Ethics and the Modern Shopper report.
"Our global clientele will not only be able to ensure they are ethically producing goods and services but also reassure consumers that their commitment to driving genuine change is front of mind; we're no longer at an inflection point, we're at the point where action is needed," Neil Stewart, global CEO at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, said in a press release.