CloudRaker opens shopper practice

After hiring Kris Matheson as executive director in Toronto, the agency will help launch the Goods & Commerce platform.
Kris Matheson

CloudRaker has expanded its shopper capabilities with the hiring of an executive director of shopper in Toronto and the forming of a partnership with shopper platform Goods & Commerce.

With offices in Montreal and Toronto, the integrated marketing agency specializing in creative, technology, media and data has now launched CloudRaker Shopper, which will be led out of Toronto by Kris Matheson (pictured), who steps in as executive director of shopper marketing.

Matheson will also work closely with the shopper team at CloudRaker’s parent company, a France-based global network of retail communications firms known as Altavia Group. He previously served as director of shopper innovation at Traffik and spent three years at Olson Canada, first as director of shopper and consumer experience and later as director of innovation and creativity.

In January, Matheson and his brother Ian briefly launched a new venture focused on shopper marketing, ecommerce and design called Tandem. That project came to an end shortly after being launched, and Kris Matheson soon went to work on developing Goods & Commerce. As part of the deal, CloudRaker will invest in the technology and resources necessary to help build and launch the platform, says Thane Calder, CloudRaker CEO.

Goods & Commerce brings together more than 400 freelancers and consultants, from across 20 different retail and shopper skill sets. It was conceived in response to broader industry trends and allows individuals and teams to respond to clients’ specific scope of work. Currently, Goods & Commerce intends to make its offer available by “self-serve” – meaning individuals can request a specialist on their own – as well as through project teams and in-house support. Moreover, it will serve as an open-source Retailer Standards and Guidelines database – the world’s first and largest such database – according to Matheson.

“Designing programs for retailers is often more about what you can’t do versus what you could do,” he says. “By building and promoting the go-to source of retail know-how we have the ability to combine the talent with the knowledge in such a way that is ever-improving and evolving with the marketplace.”

Matheson says that partnership moves Goods & Commerce from “being a startup and having to bootstrap” to “a place where we have support from a strong team with development and UX capabilities that’s helping to accelerate the launch of a far more refined experience across it and a more robust platform.”

When it was founded 18 years ago, CloudRaker was a digital pure-play agency. Around 2009, Calder says it expanded its offer to include a broader communications strategy. As of 2017, it had a media practice and began working primarily with retail brands after being acquired by Altavia, whose specialty is retail. For CloudRaker, which stands as Altavia’s only presence in North America, the plan is to eventually expand to the U.S., says Calder.

On top of believing Matheson has the experience needed to lead the CloudRaker’s shopper practice, Calder says the Goods & Commerce platform will help it serve clients by scaling according to their needs, thereby providing “efficiencies, and ultimately, more transparency.”