French advertising holding company Publicis Groupe SA
said he has acquired Profitero, an e-commerce software company that provides analytics for brands, as marketer clients are seeking services in commerce.
Profitero offers digital-commerce software and services for brands, including offerings that help clients compare prices with competitors, monitor product availability and track customer ratings and reviews. The company, which has 300 employees, says it has more than 4,000 brand clients including Kraft Heinz Co., Anheuser-Busch InBev SA
and Adidas AG. Publicis is acquiring Profitero for around $200 million, according to people familiar with the deal.
The company helps brands show up on a retailer’s “digital shelf” when consumers search for terms that can be as generic as “chocolate bar,” said Sarah Hofstetter, president at Profitero.
“Search results are going to vary both by retailer and the levers that brands can pull to ensure that they get to the top…” Ms. Hofstetter said. “There’s anything from ratings and reviews, to price adjustments, to promotional activity to supply-chain fulfillment, to which pictures and videos and text you use, how many bullets—there are hundreds of levers that you can pull, just to make sure that you show up more for the term chocolate bar.”
Profitero’s software examines data that is publicly available from retailers then synthesizes it to provide insights and predictions for those brands.
Profitero will continue operating within Publicis, with Ms. Hofstetter and Profitero Chief Executive Bryan Wiener continuing in their roles, along with the firm’s employees, Publicis said.
Publicis Chief Executive Arthur Sadoun said the deal, combined with the holding company’s existing services, will help Publicis clients grow their online sales and gain market share.
Marketers have to monitor information including competitors’ prices, product availability and opportunities to improve unpaid search results, or risk becoming invisible online. Sadoun said.
The deal comes as advertising holding companies say marketers are looking for more help with e-commerce.
Publicis competitor WPP PLC last week introduced a service called Everymile, which it said will help brands outsource direct-to-consumer e-commerce. Everymile builds on WPP’s existing commerce capabilities but adds capabilities in demand for generation, online trading and merchandising, the supply chain and logistics, according to WPP.
The Covid-19 pandemic has fueled an existing trend of brands seeking a more direct relationship with the people who buy from them.
“To some extent, it’s about trying to avoid the disintermediation that the Amazon s and the Walmarts of the world” have prompted, said Jay Wilson, a vice president analyst at research firm Gartner Inc.
Marketers selling through a company like Amazon may see lower margins than if they sell products directly to consumers online, and don’t get the same level of customer data, Mr. Wilson said, among other factors driving markets to build e-commerce functions. “It’s been a bit of a perfect storm of these things coming together.”
CMOs are responsible for not just broadcasting marketing and advertising messages and being the voice of the brand, but also directly generating sales, Mr. Wilson added.
Write to Megan Graham at megan.[email protected]
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Appeared in the May 4, 2022, print edition as ‘France’s Publicis Buys E-Commerce Software Company.’