Change is Constant in E-Commerce

Marc Avila

Late last week, rumors started swirling about Amazon shutting down Webstore, which helped small businesses with e-commerce efforts. It seems as if the technology and innovation has moved past what Amazon can offer, and both startups and established businesses now get their e-commerce capabilities elsewhere.

Bigcommerce made some waves as well when it announced its partnership with Intuit, which promises to make it easier to integrate Quickbooks with e-commerce stats. With e-commerce in the news this week, I rounded up some articles that examine the fallout from Amazon’s announcement and news from other e-commerce companies.

Changes in E-Commerce

Report: Amazon to Shutter Webstore, Its E-commerce Platform for Small Businesses. Entrepreneur: “Amazon is reportedly in the process of shuttering Amazon Webstore, a service enabling small business owners to create standalone e-commerce websites. Though the company has yet to confirm its closure, several users of the service noted on an Amazon forum that the company had contacted them last Monday to state that the platform would close next summer. “We will support the Webstore service until July 1, 2016 to give you 15 months to prepare for the change,” the notification letter reportedly reads. “Your ability to sell on Amazon.com and your Selling on Amazon account will not be impacted by this change.”

Adios, Amazon Webstore: Service Will Close July 2016. Small Business Trends: “The shuttering of Amazon Webstore next summer will mean the service lasted just over six years. Webstore was launched in May 2010. Clearly, Amazon is giving up on Webstore because it just wasn’t appealing to e-retailers. The service was geared to small and medium businesses. It allowed e-retailers to use Amazon’s e-commerce platform structure but host their products at their own domain. The problem? As of the time of the announcement that it was closing Webstore, only about 100 companies are using it. According to a report from Internet Retailer, companies may not have been as attracted to Amazon’s e-commerce offering because it was too connected to the Internet retail giant.”

Amazon Begins Webstore Phaseout: Why it Makes Sense. ZDNet: “At a most basic level, small merchants were, in a way, sleeping with the enemy. Although Webstore users were able to maintain their own brand presence on their store, Amazon’s branding was always nearby. And if the price was right, shoppers could buy a cheaper product directly from Amazon in just a couple clicks.  Beyond Amazon’s frenemy reputation, it seems Webstore was also lacking in the innovation department. User complaints have described Webstore as cumbersome, with features failing to provide customers with the most up-to-date functionality. Under those conditions, Webstore users were drawn to the bevy of competitor platforms making headway in the market.”

Bigcommerce Inks Intuit Deal. Herald Sun: “Accounting firm Intuit has signed new deals with Australian e-commerce start-up Bigcommerce that will see it integrate Quickbooks Online cloud accounting software. The integration will mean online sales transactions on Bigcommerce will be automatically transferred to a retailers’ Quickbooks Online account, a development Intuit said would lead to improved accuracy, better business insights and a major efficiency increase.”

Square Makes an E-Commerce Appeal to Small Merchants. PaymentsSource: “The mobile point of sale provider is partnering with Bigcommerce and Weebly to help brick-and-mortar businesses make it easier for merchants to build e-commerce capabilities. Square has established a niche with micro and small merchants with its mobile card reader and Square Register as a tabletop point of sale.”

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