Google’s ongoing efforts to bolster its product search portal, Google Shopping, and take on Amazon and Ebay has got another boost. The company has acquired Rangespan, a London based start-up that developed backend supply chain management software for online retailers.
Founded by Amazon veterans, Rangespan’s predictive software helps surface products that are likely to be hits based on real-time analytics as well as simplify inventory and order management.
A Google spokesperson confirmed the deal and said the team will be joining Google Shopping to improve services for shoppers and retailers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Rangespan shared the news of the acquisition on its website:
We are very happy to announce that Rangespan is joining Google. We will continue to work on services for shoppers and retailers at Google, and we’re super excited about the opportunities to come.
As part of the change, we will wind down Rangespan’s services. We’ve already begun working individually with each of our retailers and suppliers on this process.
Regan and his co-founder Matt Henderson spent 15 years between them at Amazon. Rangespan’s data scientist, Jurgen Van Gael, is Microsoft alum with a background in developing statistical models and predictive software for Bing.
Rangespan’s customer base included giant retailers in the UK including Staples, Tesco and Argos. It worked like this: Inventory suppliers uploaded their product feeds into Rangespan’s portal, giving online retailers thousands of products to at their disposal. Retailers could choose which products to stock using Rangespan’s search engine. Each product got assigned a “RangeRank score” — its predicted sales potential based on customer behavior signals gathered from other search engines and shopping sites.
The software managed the product set up on retailer sites, and all orders were relayed for shipment by the supplier. Essentially it provided an enormous clearinghouse for retailers that made inventory management more efficient and, presumably, much more profitable.
Here’s an example screenshot of that product search engine for retailers as it appeared on the Rangespan site last month: