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Bloomreach acquires Exponea for CDP and marketing automation

Barb Mosher Zinck Profile picture for user barb.mosher February 2, 2021
Checking out the e-commerce experiences on offer through a Bloomreach/Exponea CDP tie-up.

(via Pixabay)

E-commerce experiences leave a lot to be desired. Unless you know exactly what you want and are only looking to find that product and make a purchase, most commerce sites don’t make it easy or fun to shop. Bloomreach is in the business of making the commerce experience more personalized and engaging and now it has added a new piece to its experience arsenal, a CDXP.

Bloomreach is pitched as a commerce experience platform that provides a number of features that, when integrated with e-commerce software, improve the shopping experience. These include search, merchandising, content management, recommendations and SEO. According to the company’s numbers, it powers 25% of all retail commerce experiences in the United States and the UK.

Exponea is a Customer Data Platform (CDP) and a marketing automation platform (hence the X in CDXP). It provides omnichannel orchestration, web optimization, product recommendations, and more, along with its core CDP. It was founded in Slovakia in 2015 and today is headquartered out of London. It entered the US market in 2018.

In October of last year, Bloomreach and Exponea announced a strategic partnership with the play that  their joint customers would be able to deliver seamless experiences across digital marketing and commerce programs. The partnership must have worked well because Bloomreach has now acquired Exponea.

Together is better - for customers

In a video announcing the acquisition, Bloomreach CEO Raj De Datta talked about the customer journey in 2021. He shared something we all know - the customer journey is not linear. Rather it is a series of loops that involve engagement from multiple channels, including online, offline, word of mouth, and more.

De Datta said that this continual looping means that we can’t map the customer journey. All we can do is listen to their behavior on the basis that everything they do tells us what needs to come next. Of course, we need data to help us interpret those signals, and that’s why Exponea’s CDP is so critical.

It makes sense to leverage a CDP to improve your understanding of customers and their path to purchase (and purchase again). A CDP helps us pull together as much information about the customer and their behavior to get a better idea of how to engage and support their journey. With the AI capabilities built into both platforms, the expectation will be that that understanding improves significantly over time.

But you still have to start somewhere. That was the message media and social entrepreneur Robert Rose delivered when I mentioned this acquisition and De Datta’s comments on journey mapping during a podcast recording. Rose’s thesis is that a journey map is your best guess of how most of your customers engage with you to make a purchase. It may not be completely accurate, but it gives you something to work with and evolve as you understand your customers better.

For his part, Exponea CEO Peter Irikovsky talked about the combining of each company’s data. Bloomreach, he said, has a deep understanding of product data, while Exponea has a deep customer data experience. So Bloomreach helps us move from intent to purchase, while Exponea takes us from purchase to the next purchase. What you end up with is an infinite loop that creates a better experience every time.

Of all the CDPs to acquire

De Datta said the decision to acquire Exponea over another CDP came down to three reasons:

  1. Customers in e-commerce love it
  2. It is the best product for the e-commerce market
  3. It does more than stitch the data together (that’s the X part)

I asked Bloomreach for more details on how the two platforms will come together. De Datta said that they will continue to be sold independently, but also optionally together. However, he offered no details on how this will work in practice or what Irikovsky’s role will be going forward, other than he will be “staying with the company and playing a vital role in the future growth of Bloomreach”.

One of the Bloomreach platform benefits is its API-first headless architecture, which essentially means it can be integrated into a commerce platform that can work with APIs. Bloomreach offers each of its capabilities as a module built on a micro-services architecture. You might remember that it acquired a hybrid content management provider, Hippo, in late 2016 to get its headless content management services (Now, the Bloomreach Experience Manager).

As a CDP, Exponea provides a similar architecture making it easier to integrate the two platforms and offer a seamless solution to their customers.

My take

I think this acquisition makes a lot of sense for Bloomreach. And it’s not only because Bloomreach is building a better data platform with Exponea’s CDP; it’s also the tight integration of a marketing automation solution to help deliver better experiences.

Commerce experiences focus on the sale, but rarely do well on what comes next - building loyalty and driving repeat purchases, upselling or cross-selling. Incorporating marketing automation can help companies improve in this area, getting a clear understanding of the customer and how to engage them in the next steps from whatever channel works best for each one.

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