Narvar, a startup that provides a post-purchase customer engagement platform for retailers, has raised $30 million in its Series C financing round from existing investors Accel and Battery Ventures, and new investors Salesforce Ventures and Scale Venture Partners, according to a Narvar press release.
The company, which now has raised a total of $64 million in funding since launching in 2012, has a current customer base that includes retailers and brands such as Costco, Lululemon, Patagonia, Gap, Levi's, TUMI and Sephora.
Narvar, which offers its platform through a software-as-a-service model, also claims to have doubled revenue and headcount over the last 12 months, while also expanding into new market regions, including Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Among other things, Narvar's platform helps manage post-purchase activities — deliveries, returns, communications with customers and monitoring their shopping behavior and engagement with a retailer, brand or e-commerce site after the sale has been completed. The new funding comes at a time when the company has recently expanded and clearly sees a growing opportunity to bring its platform to more companies in more markets.
The participation of Salesforce's investment arm in this round is interesting — Narvar is already one of many Salesforce Commerce Cloud partners, but Salesforce's doesn't take a financial interest in all of them.
More companies in the sector are making the case that creating positive customer experiences is more important to the success of retailers and brands than lowering prices and expanding product selection. Narvar's research on how product returns have become an all-too-common way of life for retailers, which must of course be taken with a grain of salt, supports that assertion as well. Almost half of the shoppers surveyed for that research admitted to having returned a purchased item within the last year, while roughly the same number said they are sure to check a retailer's product return policy before buying.
Narvar's point is that retailers shouldn't have to accept this pattern of behavior as an unavoidable cost of doing business, and that the strength of the post-purchase experience may not only help them hold on to more customers, but also lower the cost and ease the pressure on acquiring new ones.
This is no epiphany, however. For the last few years, we have seen frequent research suggesting that retailers and brands need to focus as much or more on making sure customers return to shop again as they do on acquiring new customers. Tending to customers after the purchase has been a key ingredient in the success of giants like Amazon and Apple for many years. This funding round suggests that the idea could be catching on more widely.