Narvar Acquires Kronos Care; inRiver Expands Executive Bench; Adobe Acquires Allegorithmic

In this edition of Weekly Focus Europe: Narvar Acquires Kronos Care & Accelerates Expansion in Europe; inRiver Expands Executive Bench & Growth Initiatives for 2019; New Greenlight Research Reveals Marketers Are Underestimating Customer Brand Loyalty; and Adobe Acquires Allegorithmic.

Narvar Acquires Kronos Care & Accelerates Expansion in Europe

Narvar, the pioneer in post-purchase customer engagement, announced Tuesday (22 January) it has acquired Kronos Care, a Paris-based startup that enables retailers and brands to increase loyalty through branded notification experiences. A member of LVMH’s accelerator ‘La Maison des Startups’, Kronos Care’s customer list in France includes Etam, Intersport, Camaieu, L’Oréal, and LVMH brands. The startup will continue operations as part of Narvar’s Southern Europe team in Paris.

The acquisition comes as Narvar continues to build the broader European market for post-purchase customer experience and invest in its global footprint. Kronos Care’s retail and luxury focus and Paris-based team complement Narvar’s growth strategy in Southern Europe. In addition, the acquisition offers accelerated growth for Narvar’s broader European goals and longer term talent advantages.

Amit Sharma, founder and CEO, Narvar, comments: “From Narvar’s earliest days, we have had a vision to simplify the lives of consumers around the world with both global scale and a localised approach. The acquisition of Kronos Care aligns with this vision as we continue to focus strategic investment in Europe, building on a year of successful growth in the market. We are impressed by the work that Kronos Care has done to fill the post-purchase experience need for retailers in France, and look forward to better serving our customer relationships in the region.”

In the past year, Narvar has invested heavily in the European market, tripling its staff, not only in its office in London, but also adding regional teams in Munich, covering DACH, and in Paris, covering Southern Europe. With over 300% growth in revenue this past year, Narvar intends to more than double resources in 2019.

The acquisition of Kronos Care positions Narvar to accelerate its growth as the post-purchase leader in Europe, while also expanding its success in the luxury and beauty markets. As these retail segments grow – the global luxury market is expected to reach nearly USD$375bn (£290.3bn) by 2020 and the cosmetics market is expected to reach over USD$800bn (£619.3bn) by 2023 – retailers continue to grapple with replicating in-store experiences online. Narvar helps brands meet consumers’ rising expectations across every touchpoint.

Effective immediately, the entire Kronos Care team – all of whom have deep expertise in retail and operations – will join Narvar’s Southern Europe team and operations based in Paris. Kronos Care’s customers will continue to operate on their current platform until the transition is complete.

In a joint statement from Kronos Care founders Antoine d’Espalungue and Guillaume L’Hostis, they said: “We’ve been committed to elevating the post-purchase experience for luxury and beauty brands since founding Kronos Care, and are proud of the traction we have achieved as a result – winning the support of LVMH and building a product that supports 40 carriers and seven languages. We are excited to join Narvar to do even greater things together, in France and around the world.”

The acquisition of Kronos Care comes on the heels of significant growth and momentum for Narvar, which has added 100 clients and doubled the number of consumers it touches in the last 12 months. Today, more than 550 retailers, including 43 of the ‘Internet Retailer 100’, trust Narvar to deliver seamless post-purchase experiences that retain, engage, and delight customers. Narvar has served more than 400 million consumers worldwide across nearly seven billion interactions, 38 countries, and 55 languages. For more information, read Amit Sharma’s blog post.

inRiver Expands Executive Bench & Growth Initiatives for 2019

inRiver, the leading provider of SaaS-based product information management (PIM) solutions, on Monday (21 January) elevated veteran sales executive Jimmy Jeppsson Bäckström to chief revenue officer, and named Johan Eriksson chief financial officer, rounding out the executive team additions that included Thor Johnson, chief executive officer, Eric Waller, chief technology officer and executive vice president of product, Maria Bolmstedt, vice president of services, and Steve Gershik, chief marketing officer in 2018.

The past year yielded tremendous growth for inRiver, as the organisation continued to strengthen its presence in North America and expand operations in Europe, with 40% increase in new customer logos and more than 50% increase in recurring revenue.

New customers in retail and branded manufacturing within the fashion, construction, accessories, medical devices, food and beverage, and furniture verticals have grown the inRiver community to over 1,500 brands and 500 customers globally.

inRiver CEO, Thor Johnson, comments: “Customer demand for a clear and consistent online and offline experience is driving digital transformation worldwide. inRiver powers these global retail and industrial brands to engage their buyers and consumers everywhere, in any language, through any medium. Our experienced leadership team is focused on compressing the entire process of bringing products to market, online and offline, for the very best customer experience. We have high expectations for 2019 in this exploding marketplace.”

New Greenlight Research Reveals Marketers Are Underestimating Customer Brand Loyalty

New research from digital and commerce agency, Greenlight, has revealed that marketers may not understand their target audience as well as they thought. In fact, there is a big disparity between the perception of brand loyalty, with 58% of Gen Z consumers considering themselves loyal to brands despite only 11% of marketers believing they are.

The research, conducted with over 400 marketers and 2,000 consumers, also shows that only 22% of marketers think consumers have become more loyal in the past two years. However, almost double the amount (38%) of consumers say they are more loyal now than two years ago. Underestimating loyalty to this extent means that marketers are missing out on the insight that can help them market effectively to loyal customers.

That being said, 54% of consumers admit they are currently invested into a loyalty system (card or mobile system) for 4-10 brands, with 86% saying that they consider themselves to actually be loyal to those brands. With this in mind, brands shouldn’t rest on their laurels if customers are loyal to them, as the research highlights it’s very likely they’re not the only brand that’s top of mind. In order to maintain loyalty and truly become the go-to brand of choice among their loyal customer set, brands must make the time and effort to get under the skin of what their customers value and want from a loyalty scheme. It’s worth questioning the classic ‘discount’ model which could, in fact, damage brand image in the long-run, if not managed carefully. Instead, brands should dive into customer data and insights to unearth the value points that align with customer wants and brand image, and build a loyalty programme that’s more bespoke and geared towards long-term mutual benefits.

Furthermore, without the right data points to hand, marketers risk creating a negative experience and using the wrong channels to talk to their customers. The research shows that 54% of marketers think that the right influencer can influence brand loyalty, however only 29% of consumers think their brand loyalty is influenced by the right influencer. And 25% of marketers believe content is the key to changing consumers’ perception of a brand through influencer marketing, yet only 15% of consumers believe it is.

To begin solving this disparity, brands and marketers must become more aligned on the state of brand loyalty. And this starts with understanding how loyalty is shown. Almost half (46%) of consumers show their loyalty thorough recommending products or services to family and friends, while 40% simply put their money where their loyalties lie. Interestingly, 21% of Gen Z specifically advocate heavily by posting about the brand on social media, compared to 19% of the wider population.

Closing the gap in understanding will help marketers more effectively measure loyalty and market their products and services to that customer base, however, 40% of marketers admit they still don’t have the right tools to measure loyalty and another 28% are not sure if they do. Furthermore, 34% believe that the online and offline discrepancies in relation to customer engagement make measurement of loyalty too complicated. Another 30% don’t have enough budget for tools, and 28% believe that these tools don’t exist. Measuring loyalty throughout the customer journey comes down to having an integrated approach and the right e-commerce, analytics, and measurement systems in place to support online and offline activity. Furthermore, joining up online and offline strategies is key to providing a positive customer experience and further cementing brand trust, another key tenet of long-term loyalty, among your customer base.

Hannah Kimuyu, director of paid media and data insights, Greenlight, comments: “These results should be ringing alarm bells in the head of marketers as, ultimately, their job is to understand who they are marketing to and point consumers in the right direction along the sales funnel. Take the fact that 43% of Gen Z consumers choose to go to a brand’s website, compared to only 15% of 55-64 year-olds, or the fact that Gen Z consumers are heavier users of brand apps (25% go to an app to make a brand purchase, whereas only 1% of those aged 65+ would do so). Marketers need to have a clear understanding of how their target audiences behave and interact with their brand, and use that information to fuel their loyalty programme so it’s carefully targeted to customer preferences and wants. However, the ultimate problem is that there is a knowledge gap caused by the lack of accurate data that depicts to what degree customers are loyal. So, it’s critical for marketers to proactively seek out the insight tools readily available in the market to ensure they don’t miss out on an opportunity to enhance their marketing tactics.”

Marketers looking at data-management platforms as an insight tool need to ensure the platform provides the full picture of their audiences, and is able to pull data from multiple sources including online, offline, CRM, mobile app, mobile web, and point-of-sale data. However, where the real value comes is in the analysis. Marketers need a platform that can organise the data in a way that provides a complete audience profile. In addition, partnering with a trusted agency that can provide ongoing guidance and consultation to inform your loyalty strategy will maximise the long-term brand impact you can deliver to consumers.

Adobe Acquires Allegorithmic

Adobe announced Wednesday (23 January) that it has acquired Allegorithmic, makers of Substance, the industry standard for 3D textures and material creation in game and video post-production. By combining Allegorithmic’s Substance 3D design tools with Creative Cloud’s industry-leading imaging, video, and motion graphics tools, Adobe will empower video game creators, VFX artists working in film and television, designers, and marketers to deliver the next generation of immersive experiences.

Allegorithmic Substance

In the near future, we will live in a world where real and virtual creations blend. As brands look to compete and differentiate themselves, compelling, interactive experiences enabled by 3D content, VR, and AR will become more critical to their future success. 3D content is already transforming traditional workflows into fully immersive and digital ones that save time, reduce cost, and open new creative horizons. With the acquisition of Allegorithmic, Adobe takes a powerful step forward in adding expanded 3D and immersive workflows to Creative Cloud and provides Adobe’s core customer base of designers a new set of tools for 3D projects.

Scott Belsky, chief product officer and executive vice president, Creative Cloud, Adobe, comments: “We are seeing an increasing appetite from customers to leverage 3D technology across media, entertainment, retail, and marketing to design and deliver fully immersive experiences. Creative Cloud is the creativity platform for all and Substance products are a natural complement to existing Creative Cloud apps that are used in the creation of immersive content, including Photoshop, Dimension, After Effects, and Project Aero.”

Allegorithmic is based in France and has a diverse customer base across gaming, film and television, e-commerce, retail, automotive, architecture, design, and advertising industries, including leading creative brands like Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, BMW, Ikea, Louis Vuitton, Foster + Partners, and more. Allegorithmic is the recognised leader in 3D material and texture authoring for most AAA1 gaming franchises, including Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and Forza, and the tools used in the making of award-winning movies, including Blade Runner 2049, Pacific Rim Uprising, and Tomb Raider.

Sebastien Deguy, CEO and founder, Allegorithmic, adds: “Allegorithmic and Adobe share the same passion for bringing inspiring technologies to creators. We are excited to join the team, bring together the strength of Allegorithmic’s industry-leading tools with the Creative Cloud platform, and transform the way businesses create powerful, interactive content and experiences.”

Adobe’s strong track record of successfully integrating acquisitions will help further accelerate Allegorithmic’s product roadmap and go-to-market and extend its reach among enterprise, SMB, and individual customers. Allegorithmic CEO and founder, Sebastien Deguy will take a leadership role in Adobe’s broader 3D and immersive design efforts as vice president, 3D and Immersive, reporting into Scott Belsky.

Allegorithmic tools are already offered as a subscription service to individuals and enterprise customers, and in the future Adobe will focus on expanding the availability of Allegorithmic tools via subscription. Later this year, Adobe will announce an update on new offerings that will bring the full power of Allegorithmic technology and Adobe Creative Cloud together.