Two technology providers catering to B2B ecommerce practitioners have combined as a result of Shopify Inc.’s recent acquisition of mobile commerce firm Handshake Corp.
“Handshake is now a part of Shopify,” Shopify said in a prepared statement. “We consider acquisitions in the normal course of business as we focus on making commerce better for everyone.” The companies did not disclose what Shopify agreed to pay for Handshake, but Techcrunch.com put the deal at $100 million.
The acquisition brings Shopify, whose ecommerce technology is used by more than 800,000 businesses in about 175 countries, a stronger focus on mobile business-to-business software. New York-based Handshake, which was founded in 2010 and has received about $23.5 million in venture capital, specializes in providing a mobile app it developed, called Handshake Rep, designed for sales reps who can use it to access their company’s product catalog, check inventory and enter orders for customers and check order history on mobile devices.
The two vendors should complement each other with ecommerce technology platforms designed for flexibility in helping online buyers and sellers interact online, analysts say.
Ecommerce sites and mobile apps for buyers and sales reps
Handshake, which features more than 100 clients on its website, has a customer base that includes such companies as manufacturers Milwaukee Tool, sunglass manufacturer Linda Farrow and Cooper Booth Wholesale Co., a supplier of products to convenience stores.
Handshake charges fees for the two base versions of its app, ranging from $39.95 to $79.95 per user per month; for the higher fee, it provides such features as access to online product catalogs giving individual sale reps the ability to view instant updates of a seller’s available inventory. Handshake sells an enterprise version of the app, which provides such features as the ability to manage custom promotions; Handshake charges separate fees for the enterprise app, with prices based on each customer’s needs.
Handshake also developed and sells Handshake Direct, a B2B ecommerce platform that B2B buyers can use to place orders with manufacturers, distributors or wholesalers via an ecommerce site or a mobile app. The company doesn’t publicize pricing for Handshake Direct.
Shopify, based in Ottawa, Canada, provides its ecommerce software under a software-as-a-service, or SaaS, model to such companies as consumer products manufacturer Unilever NV, watch company MVMT and Kylie Cosmetics. Under the SaaS model, companies access software technology via a web browser without having to deploy it on their own web servers.
For its first quarter ended March 31, Shopify said its revenue increased 50% to $320.48 million, as the gross merchandise value of transactions processed through its technology also increased 50%, to $11.9 billion.
Entrepreneurs and large corporations
Shopify is widely used by small and mid-sized companies, including many entrepreneurs starting digital businesses, but it’s also deployed by large corporations who need an agile platform to quickly test an ecommerce channel for one of its brands or divisions, says Joe Cicman, senior analyst for digital transformation and B2B ecommerce at Forrester Research Inc.
Cicman adds that Handshake complements Shopify’s software with its own agile software platform, which Handshake can customize to meet the online buying needs of particular companies. Spicely Organics, a supplier of spices to food stores, for example, uses Handshake Rep mobile app technology to reduce the number of steps buyers traditionally needed to place orders from with their stores.
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