In what it said was the first acquisition of this kind, the grocery broker Impact Group has acquired Cluep, a digital engagement platform.
“There is a massive channel shift projected, as a result of an online shift with consumer behavior,” said Carl Pennington, president and chief executive officer of the Boise-based company. “Consumer engagement has shifted, where everyone’s trying to engage consumers via online and digital. Cluep allows us to talk to consumers directly.”
Cluep’s technology mines social media, using artificial intelligence, to determine consumer likes, dislikes and behaviors. That information can then be used by the brands Impact represents for targeted messaging, as opposed to broadcast messaging such as television ads and billboards, Pennington said.
“It allows us to understand what the consumer does after they engage the ad,” he said. “We share that information and knowledge with the manufacturer we’re working with, and allow them to understand the value of the media spend tied with the deliverable.”
For example, if someone posts a picture of themselves and their friends on social media, attending a Keith Urban concert, wearing Polo shirts, and drinking Coca-Cola, the Cluep technology understands those brands and can start engaging that person based on those preferences, Pennington said.
Impact did not disclose the purchase price. All of Cluep’s employees, in offices in New York, Chicago and Toronto, are staying. In addition, Impact is planning to add five more employees, two of whom are expected to be in Idaho, Pennington said. In addition, the company is still working on a way to consolidate its three Boise offices into a single location, he said.
Impact has acquired a number of companies in the past year, for a total of 11 since 2016, including the most recent one. In July, the company purchased Co-Sales, an independent food brokerage company based in Tucson, Arizona. Other recent acquisitions include Mingerink & Associates of Michigan, and Wildfire Sales and Epic Natural Sales, which allowed Impact to expand into the Northeast and Southeast. Such acquisitions are increasingly common in the grocery broker space, said Bill Bishop, chief architect of Brick Meets Click, a retail grocery consultant.
Impact had said in April that it expected to acquire more companies before the end of the year, including in the West, Northeast and Southeast. In May, it acquired three companies in the Midwest.
Impact works with consumer packaged goods brands such as Amy’s, KIND and Organic Valley, as well as grocery retailers such as Kroger and Albertsons. It is responsible for sales and marketing and merchandising for particular geographies or trades, including placement on grocery store shelves, promotion and marketing strategies and positioning, as well as back-end client management.