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Bigcommerce Set to Make First Acquisition as Rival Shopify Preps for IPO

The acquisition of Zing is expected to help Bigcommerce improve its offerings for brick-and-mortar businesses.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Bigcommerce, a heavily-funded software maker that helps small businesses set up online stores, is close to announcing its first acquisition, according to two people familiar with the deal.

The Austin-based company is buying Zing, a startup that makes checkout software and inventory management tools for brick-and-mortar businesses, these sources said. Terms of the deal could not be learned.

Over the past year, Bigcommerce has inked partnership deals with companies like Square and Lightspeed POS to let them offer Bigcommerce e-commerce software to the physical retail stores they work with. One of the goals has been to allow those businesses the capability to track inventory and customer data across their offline and online stores in real time.

Sources say Zing’s technology, including its inventory management software, will help Bigcommerce to quickly roll out these features and add new ones in a much shorter time than if it had tried to build them on its own.

A Bigcommerce spokesman and Zing CEO Nate Stewart both declined to comment.

The deal comes as Bigcommerce and its main competitor Shopify are in land-grab mode as bigger companies such as eBay and Amazon have announced plans to shut down their own competitive offerings. Shopify, which recently filed for an IPO, works with 160,000 merchants to Bigcommerce’s 85,000, but is three years older.

At the same time, both companies have made moves into brick-and-mortar retail, where most commerce transactions still take place. While Shopify has chosen to develop its own checkout software and sell equipment itself to Main Street shops, Bigcommerce has taken the partnership route, teaming up with companies in that space such as Square.

As a result, sources say Bigcommerce will discontinue Zing’s checkout software business since it would rather partner with the established point-of-sale software makers it has already struck deals with than to stray from its expertise. Zing has previously partnered with Bigcommerce to offer Bigcommerce’s online software to its brick-and-mortar merchants.

Bigcommerce has offices in Sydney, Australia, where it was founded, as well as Austin and San Francisco. The company, which has raised $125 million in venture capital, has more than 350 employees.

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