Groupon Buys CommerceInterface To Improve How Vendors Sell On Groupon Goods

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Groupon wants to be the king of local commerce, but with Groupon Goods it has a platform for online sales that compete with the likes of Amazon to sell goods from everyone everywhere. Today, it put another link into the second of these strategies with the acquisition of CommerceInterface, a channel management technology used in e-commerce operations that aggregate goods from multiple vendors.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. And it doesn’t look like CommerceInterface, headquartered in Salt Lake City and operational since 2007, had raised any significant funds from outside investors previously.

Groupon had already been using CommerceInterface in its own Groupon Goods operations since April of this year, it said in a release. Groupon Goods is a bit of a soup-to-nuts effort: it’s a platform for different merchants to post sales of diamond jewellery and designer sunglasses, but also mattresses, computers and cutlery. So this could be a matter of the company wanting to better integrate the service as it continues to build up that business, which as of Q3 was on a run rate of $1.5 billion in global billings. Using an outsourced service could be less efficient in that case.

“CommerceInterface has proven to be an important piece of Groupon Goods infrastructure in the U.S., quickly and reliably streamlining the execution of orders and other vendor interactions,” said Faisal Masud, head of Groupon Goods, in a statement. “We look forward to enhancing our abilities to better support merchants overseas beginning early next year.”

When I first heard about this deal, I thought it could be a good way for Groupon to add yet another service to its portfolio that it can offer on to other businesses to improve their overall e-commerce operations.

CommerceInterface currently offers a platform to merchants to help them optimise how and where they list their items to sell across different marketplaces — be they eBay, Amazon, Fab, Groupon Goods, or somewhere else. You could see something like CommerceInterface sitting as part of a wider service portfolio that Groupon offers to merchants as a “one-stop shop” for all their e-e-commerce needs. Groupon has made a number of other acquisitions that you could put into the category of B2B IT services, including its Breadcrumb point-of-sale buy earlier this year. That app got an update just earlier today.

But according to the release, this doesn’t look like it will be the case: “CommerceInterface will no longer service other retail channels and current customers will have the option to transition to other vendors over the next six months with migration support from the company,” the company says. That’s a missed opportunity, I think.

Full release below.

Groupon Acquires Channel Management Provider CommerceInterface

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Groupon (http://www.groupon.com) (NASDAQ: GRPN) announced today it has acquired CommerceInterface (http://www.commerceinterface.com), a leading provider of web-based channel management technology that helps manufacturers, distributors and retailers succeed at managing their businesses and selling online. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Groupon has used CommerceInterface technology since April 2012 to streamline operations of the growing Groupon Goods platform and automate interactions with thousands of existing vendors. The acquisition enables Groupon to leverage infrastructure provided by CommerceInterface to support and optimize the Groupon Goods business around the world in 2013.

“CommerceInterface has proven to be an important piece of Groupon Goods infrastructure in the U.S., quickly and reliably streamlining the execution of orders and other vendor interactions,” said Faisal Masud, head of Groupon Goods. “We look forward to enhancing our abilities to better support merchants overseas beginning early next year.”

CommerceInterface will no longer service other retail channels and current customers will have the option to transition to other vendors over the next six months with migration support from the company.

In Q3 2012, Groupon Goods reached an annual run rate of nearly $1.5 billion in global billings. A wide variety of high quality inventory is featured, from diamond jewelry and designer sunglasses to mattresses, computer tablets, 3D HD televisions and the giant radio-controlled flying shark. New items are added every day of the week and often sell out. To find the perfect holiday gift or subscribe for email updates, visit http://www.groupon.com/goods.