Bazaarvoice acquires rival PowerReviews; adds SMBs to social CRM portfolio

Social CRM consolidation: Bazaarvoice acquires rival PowerReviews for $152 million, closing the loop on a strategy that stretches from small businesses to big box retailers.

Austin, Texas-based social software company Bazaarvoice announced last night that it would acquire PowerReviews, a social reviews platform, for $152 million.

You probably haven't heard of either company, but know this: the name of the game is customer interaction and insights.

Six-year-old PowerReviews' platform includes capabilities for ratings and reviews, Q&A, loyalty, discovery, and measurement. The company services about 1,100 retailers -- primarily small and mid-size North American retailers, but also big dogs like Gap, R.E.I., Staples and Toys 'R' Us.

The acquisition gives Bazaarvoice -- which is primarily focused on larger online retailers like Costo, Home Depot, Best Buy and Crate & Barrel -- an opening to sell to PowerReviews' extensive list of small- and medium-sized retailers as well as a turnkey technology platform to satisfy them.

As with any customer relations management platform, the idea is to monitor all the digital word-of-mouth going on about a company, with the hope of helping it react more quickly (when it's bad) and proacting more effectively (so it's good).

It's a space that's definitely heating up, and startups are more than willing to meet that interest. PowerReviews had raised $37 million from several investors, including Menlo Ventures, Draper Richards, Lehman Brothers and Tenaya Capital; meanwhile, Bazaarvoice, meanwhile, successfully went public earlier this year in what the Wall Street Journal called "one of 2012's best IPOs."