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Accenture Interactive Acquires 370-Person Digital Agency To Boost E-Commerce Experience Capabilities

Dublin, Ireland-based consulting giant Accenture said the shift toward specialized customer experiences within the commerce space was a driving force behind the deal.

Accenture Interactive has entered exclusive talks to purchase French e-commerce specialist Altima, the company announced Tuesday, in what will be the division's 17th acquisition in the past five years.

The Interactive branch of Dublin, Ireland-based Accenture, No. 2 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, believes Altima will enhance its mobile and in-store commerce experience expertise both in France and other regions of interest, including the United States, Canada, China and Germany.

Anatoly Roytman, head of Accenture Interactive Europe, Africa, Middle East and Latin America and global digital commerce lead for Accenture, said Altima's blend of technical, creative and business acumen made the Roubaix, France-based agency an enticing acquisition target.

Specifically, he pointed to an industry-wide shift within the e-commerce space toward customized client experiences as one of the deal's driving factors.

[Related: Accenture Buys Digital Marketing Agency For Technical, Creative Skill Set]

"It's been happening for the last couple years. Now it's accelerating," Roytman told CRN. "Our clients realize that in order to sell something, it's not enough to just create a checkout or a payment system. You need to think about the entire experience. You need to think about how to present the products."

Some products require more presentation and convincing, he added, which necessitates the need for compelling content published in conjunction with the commerce experience.

Altima, which maintains a team of 370 employees, will be integrated into the Accenture Interactive global commerce practice and report to the head of Accenture Interactive France. The plan is to expand the agency's foothold in France while also bringing its experience-led capabilities to other markets in Europe, North America and China.

Commerce and content are areas of high demand in China, according to the company, making the deal especially valuable to Accenture Interactive's services capabilities in the region. Altima also has an expanded presence in Canada after it recently merged that team with Montreal-based digital marketing agency Konversion.

Common customers exist between the two companies, but Roytman said the ability to expand the Accenture Interactive array of digital commerce services through Altima's "unique" creative and analytical skills outweigh any overlap.

"It's not enough to buy a technology platform. It's not enough to integrate it with a legacy system," Roytman said. "You need to think broader, and you also need to do it quicker. This is why we believe we are different, and Altima is consistent with this view … Their one-stop-shop philosophy is what we find attractive. People like that who can be creative and analytical, they're hard to find."

Financial terms of the deal, which will be subject to closing conditions, were not made available.

Altima's online, mobile and on-premises commerce brand work has netted the agency awards such as the 2016 Trophees E-Commerce (user experience design category) and a 2016 W3 design and user experience award.

"We are excited to join forces with the world's largest digital network," Altima CEO Arnaud Monnier said in a statement. "The global scale of Accenture Interactive would provide a unique opportunity for us to bring our work for clients to a new level, and offer new career opportunities to our people."

Accenture Interactive has been active on the acquisition front in recent years, purchasing design and innovation firm MATTER, creative marketing agency Wire Stone, digital optimization company Clearhead and e-commerce solutions specialist Media Hive, which focused on Salesforce Commerce Cloud deployment in the U.S.

Wire Stone – like Altima – exhibited an alluring combination of creative and technical prowess that caught Accenture Interactive's eye, North American marketing practice lead Jeannine Falcone told CRN in August.

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